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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Saying Bye to Brits’ Rights

7 September 2015 by Jenn Granger

You know those little update boxes that pop up on your social media accounts from time to time – the privacy agreements that you probably just agree to because surely the big corp businesses wouldn’t be taking you for a ride and everyone else agrees to it too right? Well, the UN’s new privacy chief reckons the world needs a Geneva Convention type law that’ll help protect users’ privacy, because us agree-happy users don’t realise what we’re signing away!

UN Privacy Chief

To help protect users against the threat of insane data surveillance, Joseph Cannataci – who was appointed after the Edward Snowden revelations – says we need a new law brought in. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter because they ask you to sign away your digital rights and this kind of thing has been getting some serious press recently – we looked at Spotify’s agreements a couple of weeks ago – and the public outcry which caused them to issue a public apology. He says that the situation is worse than anything “George Orwell could have forseen”.

A new law on surveillance could really highlight – and potentially embarrass – the companies who don’t sign up to it. “Some people may not want to buy into it. But you know, if one takes the attitude that some countries will not play ball, then, for example, the chemical weapons agreement would never have come about.”

He thinks that it’s actually the UK not the US that’s slacking off the most here, and that more of us Brits need to think about and vote for privacy in the UK. “And that is where the political process comes in,” he said, “because can you laugh off the economy and the National Health Service? Not in the UK election, if you want to survive.”

As the first UN privacy chief Cannataci can:

  • 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.

“Unfortunately, the vast bulk of people sign their rights away without knowing or thinking too much about it,” he said. So let’s help change that, shall we?

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