Digital surveillance ‘worse than Orwell’, says new UN privacy chief – Guardian
The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance.
But for Cannataci – well-known for having a mind of his own – it is not America but Britain that he singles out as having the weakest oversight in the western world: “That is precisely one of the problems we have to tackle. That if your oversight mechanism’s a joke, and a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense, for how long can you laugh it off as a joke?”
Cannataci’s mandate is extensive. He is empowered to:
- Systematically review government policies and laws on interception of digital communications and collection of personal data.
- Identify actions that intrude on privacy without compelling justification.
- Assist governments in developing best practices to bring global surveillance under the rule of law.
- Further articulate private sector responsibilities to respect human rights.
- Help ensure national procedures and laws are consistent with international human rights obligations.
“The way we handle it is going to be the difference. But Orwell foresaw a technology that was controlling. In our case we are looking at a technology that is ever-developing, and ever-developing possibly more sinister capabilities.” Because of this, the Snowden revelations were very important, he said.