This Tuesday, in a landmark decision for privacy advocates everywhere, the UN passed a resolution which seeks to condemn and demonize attempts by any nation to commit acts of mass surveillance on its own people, or those of an opposing country.
The resolution takes special account of metadata, revising its definitions from a similar effort launched last year, which originally stipulated regulations on the data that tracked when one person called another to include everything from their likes on Facebook to the vague content in their emails as “unassailable figures of privacy”, all of which could not be tracked without threat of prosecution under the terms of the new measure.
The new fight for personal freedom primarily stems from the problems that both the German and Brazilian governments had with the reveal of the NSA spying programs, each of whom publicly came out against the surveillance operation and openly condemned the US and UK for funding and participating in such a horrifically overblown violation of their own countrymen’s right to data privacy.
Other countries that have thrown their weight behind the act include everyone from Austria to Costa Rica, and even Russia was willing to step up to the plate to condemn the NSA in their own special way.
With such universal support, it’s only a matter of time before the leaders and representatives in the UN vote to hold the NSA and its UK subsidiary at the GCHQ accountable for all the acts of personal freedom violation they’ve freely committed in their time spend under wraps and out of the public eye.
“The resolution’s principles and recommendations would, if reflected in governments’ policies, go a long way to address some of the serious concerns related to state’s surveillance practices in violation of the right to privacy and other human rights,” Privacy International legal officer Tomaso Falchetta said in a statement.
The act closely mirrors what we saw recently in the United States with the Freedom Act, though the final version of that bill was gutted so far to the point that it was essentially meaningless by the time it was struck down on the floor of the Senate.
Perhaps not surprisingly, none of the members of the Five Eyes spying group have pledged their support, given that all of them were complicit in either compiling or sharing terabytes of personal data without the knowledge of the people who make up their own voting constituencies.
All in all, it’s a clear sign that the average person and the government bodies that represent them are appalled, and horrified by the brazen acts of the NSA and the GCHQ over the past ten years.
It shows that while much of these activities may have been voted for by our politicians and passed through by the Patriot Act, they do not represent the desires of the citizens they claim to protect, and need to be severely regulated, if not ceased altogether, if we’re meant to cultivate a feeling of trust between the individual communities of the world in the coming century.