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  • Human Rights Research Center

Counter-Terrorism Used to Justify Surveillance, Infringing on Human Rights

March 16, 2023


Photo: The UN says it's concerned about the potential misuse of surveillance technology to illegally undermine people’s human rights. [Image credit: Unsplash/Chris Yang]

Cited article by UN News


HRRC applauds UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin's introduction of a new, innovative approach to regulations on surveillance technologies. The use of such technologies like drones and spyware infringe on human rights and must be regulated to ensure people's fundamental rights are protected.


Article Summary


In her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin warned about the rapidly increasing use of “intrusive and high-risk technologies”, including drones, biometrics, artificial intelligence, and spyware. The use of these technologies is often justified for counter-terrorism, but has been employed with disregard to human rights law. Ní Aoláin claims the surveillance impacts fundamental rights such as freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and the right to privacy.


Ní Aoláin also urged the UNHRC to implement protections and safeguards for human rights, and effectively regulate companies who employ the technologies. She presented a new, innovative way to approach this challenge, stating, “In the absence of regulation, the cost to human rights can only increase with no end in sight".

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