March 31, 2014
These provisions are broad yet vague. They are also coupled with the preliminary threshold question of whether they would apply in the first place to extraterritorial surveillance. But while there are many uncertainties regarding the application of human rights treaties to intelligence gathering, they are not insurmountable. Indeed, it is inevitable that human rights language and fora will be used in challenging the legality of electronic surveillance programs, as is already being done by privacy activists.7 Special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council have started examining the impact of counterterrorism measures on the right to privacy.
- 7. See International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance,10 July 2013, at https://en.necessaryandproportionate.org/text (a set of 13 principles drawn from human rights law that would apply to both domestic and extraterritorial surveillance, drafted by numerous civil society organizations in comprehensive process led by Privacy International, Access, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation).