January 21, 2014
The United States is setting a dangerous example for the world with its sweeping surveillance programmes, giving governments an excuse for mass censorship of online communications, Human Rights Watch said in its annual report Tuesday.
The National Security Agency’s failure to respect privacy as a right will serve as a fig leaf for repressive states to force user data to stay within their own borders and crack down on free expression, New York-based HRW said.
“The US now leads in ability for global data capture, but other nations and actors are likely to catch up, and some already insist that more data be kept within their reach,” the group writes in its 667-page report examining the state of human rights in more than 90 countries, which was presented in Berlin.
“In the end, there will be no safe haven if privacy is seen as a strictly domestic issue, subject to many carve-outs and lax or non-existent oversight.”