At the core of the book is one of the most enduring discussions of the definition and value of privacy. Privacy is a very complex concept, and scholars and others have struggled for centuries to define it and articulate its value. Privacy and Freedom contains one of the most sophisticated, interdisciplinary, and insightful discussions of privacy ever written. Westin weaves together philosophy, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines to explain what privacy is and why we should protect it.
As the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression , States cannot ensure that individuals are able to freely seek and receive information or express themselves without respecting, protecting and promoting their right to privacy. We believe that ultimately mass surveillance will enforce conformity, limit innovation, hamper creation, and diminish imagination.
While the mass surveillance of populations is currently on the rise, mainly due to rapid technological changes around the world, it has been used all throughout history.
One of the oldest forms of mass surveillance are national databases. These old administrative surveillance techniques include the subjects of a kingdom, and tattoos marking them, and humans.
Under the methods that mass surveillance is now capable of being conducted, governments can capture virtually all aspects of our lives. Today it increasingly involves the generation, collection, and processing of information about large numbers of people, often without any regard to whether they are legally suspected of wrongdoing. At this scale, modern surveillance shifts the burden of proof, leads to an unaccountable increase in power, and has a chilling effect on individual action.
By starting from a position where everyone is a suspect, mass surveillance encourages the establishment of erroneous correlations and unfair suppositions. It enables individuals to be linked together on the basis of information that may be no more than a coincidence – a tube ride shared together, a website visited at the same time, a phone connecting to the same cell tower – and conclusions to be drawn about the nature of those links.
Review the development of so called privacy enhancing technologies(PETs) and the institutional mechanisms that have been devised to makethem available and usable.
But what governments often do not point out is that collection of this information is where the interference to our privacy occurs. Mass surveillance programmes are premised on one fundamental objective – collect everything. Mine it, exploit it, extrapolate from it; look for correlations and patterns, suspicious thoughts or words, tenuous relationships or connections.
Include a brief assessment (less than 1000 words) ofany changes that are needed to the Australian legislation in order to ensureappropriate privacy protection to Australian users of the InternetHere is a short list of other subject areas from which topics could bedeveloped for approval .
Authorities can now have access to information concerning the entirety of an individual’s life: everything they do, say, think, send, buy, imbibe, record, and obtain, everywhere they go and with whom, from when they wake up in the morning until when they go to sleep. Even the strongest of legal frameworks to govern mass surveillance with the strictest of independent oversight would leave room for abuse of power and misuse of information; for discriminatory attitudes and structural biases; and for human fallibility and malice.
The debate between privacy and security has been framed incorrectly, with the tradeoff between these values understood as an all-or-nothing proposition. But protecting privacy need not be fatal to security measures; it merely demands oversight and regulation.
Governments have been quick to attempt to colour the discourse around mass surveillance by , asserting that such collection in itself is a benign measure that .
In judging whether mass surveillance is lawful, courts have weighed on the scope of the surveillance, the safeguards in place, the type of surveillance, and the severity of the pressing social need. They have concluded that the collection and retention of information on people is an act of surveillance that must be controlled. The mere capability to enable surveillance that examines, uses, and stores information consitutes an interference with the right to privacy. The systematic collection, processing and retention of a searchable database of personal information, even of a relatively routine kind, involves with the right to respect for private life, and , requires .
I’ve long been saying that privacy need not be sacrificed for security, and it makes me delighted to see that public attitudes are aligning with this view. A revealed that a “majority of Americans (54%) disapprove of the U.S. government’s collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts.” The anti-NSA surveillance sentiment is even stronger in other countries, as is shown in this chart below.