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U.N. declares online privacy a basic human right

Assistant News Editor

Published: Friday, January 17, 2014

Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 19:01


Patrick Semansky| Associated Press

This June 6, 2013 file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. President Barack Obama is hosting a series of meetings this week with lawmakers, privacy advocates and intelligence officials as he nears a final decision on changes to the government's controversial surveillance programs.

The right to virtual privacy has been declared a basic human right by the third committee of the United Nations 68th General Assembly.


In a resolution, the General Assembly has established that, “human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium and therefore need to be protected both offline and online.”


The committee has passed a draft, without vote, entitled ““Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism ,” according to the U.N.'s Department of Public Information.


The draft will take effect under Article 12 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


The draft has been approved without of vote and brought before the nations for a vote. The vote is recorded as 148 in favor and four against, with 27 nations abstaining.


The four nations against the draft are Canada, Israel, The United Kingdom and The United States.


Many delegates at the 68th assembly have speculated that this declaration is in response to the recent revelations of the U.S. National Security Agency's electronic surveillance.


The committee has also approved, without vote, the draft of “Safety of journalists and the issue of impunity,” in regards to “all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations. It would also decide to proclaim 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.”


The “Safety of journalists and the issues of impunity,” will condemn acts of violence against journalists, similar to the issues found in Syria, Egypt, and India as well as many other nations.

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