Human Rights and Spying – Does Government Spying Violate Human Rights Law?

This article originally appeared in Right Now.

Last year, worldwide media was captivated by the revelations brought about by Edward Snowden, that the US, as part of the “5-eyes” program along with the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have conducted a worldwide systemic surveillance of communication data. As Snowden, an ex National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed, thesurveillance includes metadata, location data, text messages, emails and even voice records.

Such data is not obtained via the traditional process of obtaining a warrant, but rather collected and stored on a mass scale despite any suspicion or cause for surveillance. More worrying, as Snowden pointed out in a recent media interview, is the way the members of the “5-eyes” spy program bypass domestic laws through partnering with other members. While Australia cannot spy on its own citizens without legal process, Canada, New Zealand, UK or US can collect and share such data under this arrangement. As such, as domestic laws have often failed to protect the privacy of the public, it is important to look towards international human rights laws to protect the right to privacy.

Continue reading “Human Rights and Spying – Does Government Spying Violate Human Rights Law?”

Ahmed Belbacha – The Faces of Guantanamo

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A former civil servant, Belbacha fled his native Algeria after receiving death threats from the fundamentalist guerrillas of the Groupe Islamique Armée. He settled in England, where he worked as a cleaner. Belbacha once cleaned the rooms of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. He got a nice tip. But Belbacha’s asylum application was turned down and, fearing deportation, he left for Pakistan and then Afghanistan. When war hit, he was captured trying escape back into Pakistan. Continue reading “Ahmed Belbacha – The Faces of Guantanamo”