The acquisition and abuse of private surveillance technologies in Latin America
Submission of Latin American Organizations to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and the protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and the protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, opened a call for submissions to collect impressions and inputs about The Surveillance Industry and Human Rights. With the aim of studying State and business responsibilities to limit the export and use of surveillance technologies to undermine fundamental rights the call was looking forward to receiving information about (a) domestic regulatory frameworks that may be applicable to the development, marketing and/or facilitation of surveillance technologies by private companies; and (b) Information concerning the use of such surveillance technologies.
Alongside with Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Derechos Digitales, Fundación Karisma, Hiperderecho, Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor (IDEC), IPANDETEC, Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D) and TEDIC, Coding Rights authored a submission called The acquisition and abuse of private surveillance technologies in Latin America. Throughout the document, we highlighted the exercise of surveillance practices in the region, as well as the lack of compliance with a comprehensive Human Rights approach in the deployment of said technologies in the region. According to the Special Rapporteur, the received input will contribute to the report of the Special Rapporteur to the U.N. General Assembly, later in October.
The contribution, which is divided into 4 parts: (a) information concerning the use of surveillance technologies developed by private companies in Latin America; (b) information concerning the lack of transparency behind the acquisition of commercial surveillance technologies; (c) details of emblematic cases of State use of private surveillance technology against individuals or civil society organizations; and (d) information regarding the impunity and overall lack of accountability regarding the abuse of private surveillance technologies, showcases examples of State abuse of such technologies especially against activists or civil society groups critical to a particular government. It is also important to note the growing interest of surveillance companies in the region, particularly during the series of mega-events held in Brazil in the past years like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and mostly associated with State negotiations for the acquisition of technologies.
Recently, in Brazil, Coding Rights and Intervozes submitted a series of access to information requests regarding the use of Drones by the government of Rio de Janeiro under the programme “Sentinela Carioca”. The programme, which allows drones to be flying over the capital of Rio de Janeiro, collecting information from cars, buildings and, of course, people — can jeopardize the citizens’ right to privacy and informational self-determination while the country is still in the means of discussing the model of its Data Protection National Authority.
The submission is available here: https://bit.ly/2Ek1jFo