UN concerned about digital espionage

The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly expressed grave concern about online digital spying and stressed that the storage and surveillance of others’ data violates privacy and is intrusive.

By consensus, in order to please the entire surveillance alliance (called the Five Eyes formed by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), they have had to withdraw the resolution of metadata surveillance as intrusive acts.

Despite that, the resolution, submitted by Germany and Brazil, mentions metadata, warning that «certain types of metadata, when aggregated, can reveal personal information and give insight into an individual’s behavior, social relationships, identity and private preferences.»

Metadata can help to comprehensively monitor a user by detailing exactly which phone numbers are involved in a call, when it is made, how long it lasts, even where someone connected to the Internet or their email, who they typed in and what pages they visited.

The Australian delegate told the Third Committee: «Lawful surveillance, subject to appropriate safeguards and oversight, can be an important tool in protecting individuals from criminal or terrorist threats and access to metadata can be an important element in the investigation of these threats.



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