UNHRC to Convene Panel Discussion on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has decided to convene a panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the right to privacy in the digital age during its 27th session, which will take place in September 2014.

The panel discussion which will be held in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance by UN Member States aims to identify challenges and best practices.

The decision to convene the discussion is contained in its resolution, A/HRC/25/L.12, on “Panel on the right to privacy in the digital age”, which was adopted without a vote on March 27, 2014, at its 25th session.

The Council also requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize the panel discussion while ensuring multi-stakeholder participation, and to prepare and submit a summary report on the panel discussion to the Council at its 28th session scheduled to hold in March 2015.

The resolution was introduced by Brazil, which noted that the text had received 63 co-sponsors from different regions.

Brazil said the draft decision represented a step further in a process that started with the organization of a side event in the margins of the 24thsession of the Council and the adoption of resolution 68/167 by the UN General Assembly, followed by an expert seminar that took place in Geneva in February 2013.

It contended that it was imperative to examine how international human rights law could be effectively implemented to ensure the protection of privacy in the context of digital communication, adding that it was also important to assess the extent to which domestic and extraterritorial surveillance, interception of communications and data collection could infringe on an individual’s right to privacy.

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