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Wednesday, November 11 • 16:30 - 17:30
Open Forum - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights & the Council of Europe - "Right to Privacy in the Digital Age"

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Open Forum on the Right to Privacy in The Digital Age


Mr Lee Hibbard - Council of Europe

Mr Hernán E. Vales Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


New technologies are vulnerable to electronic surveillance and interception, which in the words of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has become “a dangerous habit rather than an exceptional measure”. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted res 68/167, which expressed deep concern at the negative impact of surveillance and interception of communications on human rights. In December 2014, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights raised concerns on inter alia the monitoring of individuals and groups with emphasis on intelligence and prevention. In March 2015, following a new UN General Assembly resolution (69/166) , the Human Rights Council created a Special rapporteur on the right to privacy. In April 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated it was “deeply worried” about the mass surveillance practices by certain intelligence agencies .

This Open Forum will discuss the following questions:

(1) What is the state of play regarding mass surveillance?; 
(2) What progress has been made by governments, the private sector, and civil society?; 
(3) Next steps for privacy, what are the plans fo teh UN Special Rapporteur and the Council of Europe?. 


Mr Joe Cannataci - UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy
Mr Guenter Schirmer - Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Mr Alexandre Ghisleni - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
Ms Carly Nyst - Independent Human Rights Consultant, The Netherlands
Mr Gbenga Sesan -Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria 

Mr Lee Hibbard - Council of Europe
Mr Hernán E. Vales- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms Lorena Jaume-Palasi - European Dialogue on Internet Governance

Remote moderator
Ms Emilar Vushe - Association for Progressive Communications

Background documents
United Nations General Assembly, resolution 69/166 on the right to privacy in the digital age
United Nations Human Rights Council, resolution 28/16 on the right to privacy in the digital age
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, report on the right to privacy in the digital age
PACE resolution 2045 (2015) 

PACE recommendation 2067 (2015)
Report of the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Rapporteur: Mr Pieter Omtzigt

This Open Forum is part of a cross-event collaboration with a pre-event on "Privacy in the digital age" (Nov 9, 15 hs) and with WS 114 on "Implementing Core Principles in the Digital Age" (Nov 10, 11 hs) which also look at issues of privacy and surveillance. 

Session Organizers

Lee Hibbard

Internet governance coordinator, Council of Europe

Wednesday November 11, 2015 16:30 - 17:30 GMT-03
Workshop Room 3

Attendees (1)