Cyberpants – being scared doesn’t avoid being scarred

By | March 15, 2017

News media rarely resist opportunities to scare the cyberpants off their audiences.  Often they are simply reflecting the gesture politics of populist leaders who wish to be seen as pro-active but lack effectiveness in their policy pretensions.  Clearly there are dangers in complacency but, in the view the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, the endless trail of cybersecurity woes is not constructive but is potentially damaging.

The rapporteur’s report is a challenging read – not least for those keen to introduce new new surveillance legislation.  Readers who may baulk at the length and detail of the report may choose to flip directly to page 14  where the recommendations attempt to answer:

(a)    WHY populism and privacy are inimical to security;

(b)    HOW states may engage to improve privacy protection through better oversight of intelligence;

(c)    WHO deserves to enjoy the right to privacy i.e. everybody, everywhere – the universality of the right to privacy has a special meaning in this context

(d)    HOW this right to privacy could possibly be better protected through developments in domestic and international law and

(e)    and WHEN. Some developments in international law, especially those concerning a legal instrument regulating surveillance may possibly soon be at a stage of maturity where they could benefit from a wider discussion

For the suggested answers see the Full Report  A_HRC_34_60_EN