Guardian: Digital surveillance 'worse than Orwell', says new UN privacy chief

Posted by Soledad Vega on Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:32

Apparently, "Orwellian" is no longer an appropriate reference for our surveillance state - we should dream to be so lucky to be back to Orwellian times, according to the new UN special rapporteur on privacy.

Article by Adam Alexander for The Guardian

The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance.

Speaking to the Guardian weeks after his appointment as the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci described British surveillance oversight as being “a joke”, and said the situation is worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen.

He added that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and said it was regrettable that vast numbers of people sign away their digital rights without thinking about it.

One thing that is certainly going to come up in my mandate is the business model that large corporations are using

“Some people were complaining because they couldn’t find me on Facebook. They couldn’t find me on Twitter. But since I believe in privacy, I’ve never felt the need for it,” Cannataci, a professor of technology law at University of Groningen in the Netherlands and head of the department of Information Policy & Governance at the University of Malta, said.

Appointed after concern about surveillance and privacy following the Edward Snowden revelations, Cannataci agreed that his notion of a new universal law on surveillance could embarrass those who may not sign up to it. “Some people may not want to buy into it,” he acknowledged. “But you know, if one takes the attitude that some countries will not play ball, then, for example, the chemical weapons agreement would never have come about.”

- Read more at The Guardian