Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies

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Published date: March 30, 2023

Country: France | New Zealand (Aotearoa) | United Kingdom (UK)

Subject tag: Privacy and data protection

The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has published ‘Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies’, a voluntary and non-legally binding document which has been developed through consensus by the FOC’s 36 Member States.

The Guiding Principles illustrate how governments can maintain their commitment to respect and protect democratic principles, human rights, and fundamental freedoms, consistent with their international obligations and commitments, in the responsible use of surveillance technology. The Guiding Principles are intended to prevent the misuse of surveillance technologies by governments, and those acting on their behalf in three main areas of concern:

1. The use of Internet controls to suppress human rights and fundamental freedoms and unjustly limit access. to information;
2. Pairing advanced video surveillance with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tools to persistently identify and monitor people without an appropriate legal basis; and
3. The use of big data analytic tools to support the discriminatory enforcement of laws and to target individuals or members of groups in marginalized or vulnerable situations, journalists, human rights defenders, workers and union leaders, dissidents, and other perceived government opponents as a means to enforce social and political control.