Surveillance

GNI members believe that freedom of expression and privacy are critical to fostering stability, inclusiveness, and security. As such, government surveillance activities must comply with principles of rule of law and democratic governance, as well as human rights principles such as legality, necessity, and proportionality.

Our framework of principles and guidelines provide companies with specific guidance on how to address government demands for access to data in a manner consistent with internationally recognized laws and standards. Our shared learning facilitates greater understanding of the specific challenges that surveillance activities can present. And our policy approach advocates for expanded transparency, oversight, and accountability of laws, regulations, and actions related communications surveillance.

Our policy work has also focused on identifying and calling out newer approaches to surveillance that take intermediaries out of the loop, thereby limiting opportunities for transparency and accountability over government access to user data. In 2021, after significant research and internal discussion, we launched a statement and landing page dedicated to “direct access.”

Nuevo Reporte: Uso de tecnologías para el combate de la pandemia: Datos personales en Latinoamérica 

November 8, 2021|feature, media releases, Publication, surveillance|

Este reporte revisa el desarrollo de tecnologías para el combate a la pandemia bajo diferentes marcos legales en Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador y El Salvador. Analiza los impactos de las respuestas de los gobiernos en el derecho a la privacidad de los usuarios y ofrece recomendaciones.

New Report! Technologies Used in the Fight Against the Pandemic: Personal Data in Latin America

November 7, 2021|feature, media releases, Publication, surveillance|

This report looks at the development of technologies to fight the pandemic under different legal frameworks in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador. It analyzes the impacts of governments' responses on users’ privacy rights and makes recommendations.

GNI Submission: Government of Canada’s Proposal for Addressing Harmful Content Online

September 27, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, surveillance|

Canada's leadership in supporting Internet freedom around the world could be undermined by the government’s recently proposed approach to content regulation. GNI expressed concerns about pressures to restrict content and facilitate access to user data in the current approach.

GNI-Freedom House Workshop: Data Localization and Human Rights

July 8, 2021|Issues, issues highlight, Jurisdictional Assertions & Limits, surveillance|

Data localization mandates can impact a broad range of human rights, including privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of association, personal security, and non-discrimination. The workshop hosted by GNI and Freedom House explored the technical and legal dimensions of data localization requirements and featured company and non-company perspectives.

GNI Expresses Concerns About and Calls on Indonesia to Reconsider the ‘MR5’ Regulation

June 11, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, surveillance|

"MR5" regulation in Indonesia, for which implementation is currently postponed, features problematic elements similar to those we have highlighted in other recent digital regulations: broad, vague definitions of companies and content in scope, significant threats of penalties for noncompliance, including to required local company contacts, and exceptional powers to access company data — both metadata and content of communications — including a potential direct access arrangement.

Defining Direct Access: GNI calls for greater transparency and dialogue around mandatory, unmediated government access to data

June 3, 2021|feature, Issues, issues highlight, surveillance|

This web page calls attention to legal and technical arrangements that allow government authorities to access data streams directly – that is, without having to request data from, or even notify, the service providers that collect and/or transmit the data. Read more for the full GNI statement, "defining direct access", plus a one-page visual explainer and related resources.

Privacy and Artificial Intelligence: GNI Input to UN Human Rights Thematic Report

May 28, 2021|intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, surveillance|

GNI welcomes this opportunity to provide input to UN Human Rights on the preparation of the thematic report on artificial intelligence and the right to privacy. In our submission, we outline risks and opportunities for human rights, recommended safeguards, and legal and regulatory considerations to ensure the increasing adoption of AI technologies contributes to the promotion and protection of the right to privacy.

GNI Analysis: Information Technology Rules Put Rights at Risk in India

March 30, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, Publication, surveillance|

Recently notified IT Rules in India, which follow a previous draft GNI commented on in early 2019, continue to pose significant risks for freedom of expression and privacy. Read GNI's letter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and corresponding analysis of the Rules.

GNI Statement of Concern on Proposed Cybersecurity Law in Myanmar

February 12, 2021|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, network disruptions, surveillance|

Given the severe social, economic, and human rights consequences that the draft cybersecurity law is likely to have on both users and companies inside the country, GNI calls on the Myanmar military to withdraw and reconsider the law.