Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Protecting Privacy and the Fight Against Terrorism

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights recently published an issue paper entitled Protecting the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism:

"The issues addressed in this paper (...) touch, on the one hand, fundamental values of a democratic society, raising serious constitutional questions in many States. On the other hand, they relate to a phenomenon - terrorism - in response to which States feel entitled, even obliged, to take the most drastic action."

"Terrorism, however defined, is not a passing phenomenon. While wars or other public emergencies generally have a more or less clear end (even if this can be much delayed), there is no end in sight to the fight against global terrorism. Even at the national level, anti-terrorism legislation tends to become semi-permanent."

"Terrorism, and measures against terrorism, therefore pose a long-term, engrained threat to the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and its Member States. One particular area at risk concerns the collection, storage, analysis, sharing and use of personal data. Data protection is often seen as an obstacle to effective anti-terrorist measures - and thus as a prime area in which basic international commitments are ignored. Yet data protection is crucial to the upholding of fundamental democratic values. It is this tension between strong opposing forces, the desire to prevent terrorism and the importance of protecting human rights, that makes this a matter of pressing concern."
The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 for the purpose of promoting the rule of law, pluralist democracy and common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights.

It has 47 member countries and 5 observer nations, including Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:25 pm


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