Council of Europe: Speech by Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

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"restrictions to media freedom on grounds of national security emerge as a particularly serious one, as we have seen following the recent disclosure of the US
and UK mass surveillance programmes. The US intelligence agency, NSA, and its British counterpart, GCHQ, target encryption techniques that are used by Internet
services such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo, making them vulnerable to surveillance. States, of course, have a duty to ensure security within their borders, and
in doing so they can undertake the secret surveillance of individuals who can pose a threat. But if they do not do this properly, they risk undermining or even destroying the same democracy they are purporting to defend. To stem this risk, states and private companies must develop surveillance policies that respect human rights. Spying on individuals on a massive scale, without strict legal rules and democratic oversight, can have adverse effects on freedom of expression by provoking a chilling effect on investigative journalists and activists who might fear exposing their sources."

See the full text: “Freedom of expression and democracy in the digital age - Opportunities, rights, responsibilities” (pdf)

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