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Germany, Brazil enlist 19 more countries for anti-NSA UN resolution

Published time: October 26, 2013 19:05
Edited time: October 27, 2013 22:10
Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Twenty-one countries, including US allies France and Mexico, have now joined talks to hammer out a UN resolution that would condemn “indiscriminate” and “extra-territorial” surveillance, and ensure “independent oversight” of electronic monitoring.

The news was reported by Foreign Policy magazine, which has also obtained a copy of the draft text.

The resolution was proposed earlier this week by Germany and Brazil, whose leaders have been some of the most vocal critics of the comprehensive spying methods of the US National Security Agency.

It appears to have gained additional traction after the Guardian newspaper published an internal NSA memo sourced from whistleblower Edward Snowden on Friday, which revealed that at least 35 heads of state had their phones tapped by American intelligence officials.

One of those is likely German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Earlier this week the White House failed to deny that her personal cell phone had been tapped in the past, though it claims that it no longer listens in on Merkel’s private conversations.

Other countries involved in the talks reportedly include Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Navanethem Pillay - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

While the document does not single out the US as the chief electronic spy, its text seems to be a direct response to alleged NSA practices.

The draft says that UN member states are “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions.”

Snowden’s leaks over the past months have revealed that NSA intercepts data directly from data cables stationed around the world. Internal documents also showed that American intelligence staff did not need a warrant or any other legal basis to freely spy on a non-US citizen.

The proposed document also claims that “illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”

As opposed to the targeted spying of the past, where agencies would tap a specific phone or intercept letters addressed to a person, new technologies mean that almost all data that passes through the internet is saved onto the NSA servers. This includes private emails, web searches, and personal data of billions of people. NSA agents then fish out the needed information with precise searches.

The resolution, which is expected to be presented in front of the U.N. General Assembly human rights committee before the end of the year, turns NSA’s activities into an issue of fundamental rights as opposed to international diplomacy, requiring the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a report on the problem. The draft also asks to institute “independent oversight mechanisms” that would curb the untrammelled surveillance, though it does not specify how such a secretive activity could be effectively supervised.

Comments (41)

 

GeeBee 02.11.2013 20:12

Elizabeth Brown 27.10.2013 20:35

Okay the next time someone invades your butt don't call us. It will save the US taxpayer's money by withdrawing US military from Europe and if you get invaded again don't call us.

  


th e only one invading other countrys and to be feared of is US along with their dirty zionist brother Israel. It is time for mankind to wake up and rise against these brutal war criminals !

 

Zoro 28.10.2013 14:08

First of all US has to pay for the war crimes they've been doing for decades: Vietnam, Iraq, Serbia, Syria, Afghanistan...you name it.
As Noam Chomsky said long time ago: "US gov't is playing game with the devil."

 

Tyler 28.10.2013 06:43

Yes shut down US military bases and defund the DHS that we don't need. The NSA and CIA must be dismantled as well. The invasion of our basic human liberties are being infringed and allowing them to have power over it only makes way for tyranny. We don't want to live in a world where people have every bit of information on you that they can pull up at any time; worst of all is we are paying for it with tax payer money. I hope the rest of the world is as pissed as some of us. P.S.>Instate debt/interest free money so no men can get too powerful. Greenbacks that grow with the birthrate and rate of development.

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