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.”

The Global Network Initiative Welcomes the “Declaration for the Future of the Internet”

April 29, 2022|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, network disruptions, surveillance|

GNI welcomes the recent Declaration for the Future of the Internet, in particular the centrality of human rights and the emphasis placed on multistakeholder approaches. As a multistakeholder organization that has been working for over a dozen years to protect digital rights, GNI looks forward to continuing to engage with signatories and stakeholders, and will work to hold signatory nations to the principles laid out in this Declaration. Read more for the full statement.

Concerns About Draft Content Regulation in Bangladesh: Submission to BTRC

March 9, 2022|feature, intermediary liability, issues highlight, Publication, surveillance|

GNI recently submitted comment on the draft digital platform regulation from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). GNI is concerned about the rushed process, including overlap with a similar proposal from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, as well as the risks to digital rights from the significant obligations in the draft regulation. GNI stands ready to engage with the BTRC in support of rights-respecting content regulation.

GNI Calls for Withdrawal of Draft Cybersecurity Law in Myanmar

January 31, 2022|feature, intermediary liability, Issues, issues highlight, surveillance|

GNI expresses serious concern about a recently proposed cybersecurity law in Myanmar, reaffirming and adding to concerns about a draft introduced by the military-led State Administrative Council last year. GNI calls on the authorities to revoke the legislation. Read more for ur analysis of the proposal.

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.