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Mass Surveillance 'endangers Fundamental Human Rights,' Says Study


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Artist's impression of spyware.

A European human rights body has issued a report that concludes mass Internet surveillance is a threat to basic human privacy rights.

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A leading European human rights body has issued a report warning mass Internet surveillance is a threat to basic human privacy rights and has not apparently prevented terrorist attacks.

The legal affairs and human rights committee of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe arrived at this conclusion from an analysis of documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013. The documents pointed to persuasive evidence of "far-reaching, technologically advanced systems" deployed by U.S. intelligence agencies and their partners for the purpose of collecting, storing, and analyzing communication data on an immense scale.

The committee also cautions resources that might deter terrorist attacks are funneled into mass surveillance, giving potential terrorists the freedom to act. The report recommends countries encourage encryption technology usage and "resist any attempts to weaken encryption and other Internet safety standards."

According to the report, national laws should only permit the collection of personal information without consent following "a court order granted on the basis of reasonable suspicion," while illegal data collection should be punished and the creation of backdoors to bypass security measures banned.

In addition, the committee argues all businesses and institutions holding personal data should be mandated to employ the most effective available security measures.

From IDG News Service
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