Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Privacy is a human right

Posted by Charles II on February 6, 2015

The Administration has been arguing that mass surveillance is both legal and constitutional. But, thanks to the efforts of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, an understanding emerged in the world that neither our law nor our Constitution are supreme. Rather, they are manifestations of a higher law that recognizes human rights as whatever conditions are necessary for human beings to thrive. This is expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads in part:

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Now a court in the U.K. has concluded that spying by GCHQ in collaboration with NSA was illegal. Owen Bowcott, The Guardian:

The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.

An “order” posted on the IPT’s website early on Friday declared: “The regime governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications of individuals located in the UK, which have been obtained by US authorities … contravened Articles 8 or 10” of the European convention on human rights.

Article 8 relates to the right to private and family life; article 10 refers to freedom of expression.

It is long past time for Americans to assert their human rights, including the right to simply be left alone. This ruling only begins the work of unraveling what amounts to an “intelligence” regime that intrudes into every moment of every person’s life.

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