UN Claims Privacy is “Basic Human Right”

In another victory for privacy advocates everywhere, today the chief of the UN’s council on human rights Navi Pillay told the press she believes that privacy, both on the internet and the real world, should be viewed by the international community as a “basic human right.”

It took the cooperation of dozens of nations from four different continents to finally bring apartheid in South Africa to an end, and Navi is convinced it will take nothing less to convince the United States and British governments to reign in their powers and remove surveillance programs which are no longer solely about representing the safety of their people and those abroad.


Navi is the first non-white woman to take on the role of high-court judge in South Africa, and has prosecuted hundreds of cases while serving on the Rwanda tribunal during the early 90’s. However when she went on BBC Radio with Sir Tim Berners-Lee to present her case, she made to reassure us that her time in one of the worst regions in human history has not dulled her sense of right and wrong.

“I don’t grade human rights,” she said. “I feel I have to look after and promote the rights of all persons. I’m not put off by the lifetime experience of violations I have seen.”

Just last week the UN general assembly voted on a resolution proposed by Germany and Brazil, requiring the organization to recognize people’s online rights the same as they do offline, in an unprecedented move that could shift geo-political policy and spying laws from here on out.

In much the same way the Geneva Convention laid down a basic framework for the rules of engagement, Pillay hopes her pro-privacy leadership can convince the rest of the world to rise up in defense of their rights.