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Saturday, 6th September 2014

International Law and Secret Surveillance: Binding Restrictions upon State Monitoring of Telephone and Internet Activity

Source: Center for Democracy and Technology

From Press Release:

In the year that has followed Edward Snowden’s first disclosures concerning secret US and UK surveillance practices, many governments, human-rights groups, and UN bodies have debated—and at times disagreed sharply—about whether the Internet and telephone surveillance practices that governments employ today are consistent with international law. With a view to informing these discussions, this report briefly summarizes the current state of international law as it applies to the secret surveillance of communications.

Many commentators divide international law into two categories: “hard law,” which is binding upon at least some states, and “soft law,” which includes nonbinding materials such as UN General Assembly resolutions. In order to facilitate a greater degree of understanding and consensus, this report is restricted to major international sources of “hard law.”

The report describes two distinct bodies of law: customary international law (specifically, the principle of territorial and political integrity) and international human-rights law.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 429 KB)

+ Press Release



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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