WFUNA Task Force on WSIS & The Danish Network on WSIS
International conference on
"Where to go from Tunis? Implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society and the role of Civil Society in this process"
Copenhagen, February 22, 2006
Privacy in the post-WSIS implementation debate
(Presentation notes)
CÚdric Laurant
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Introduction

The Tunis Agenda of Nov. 18, 2005 states:

"We call upon all stakeholders to ensure respect for privacy and the protection of personal information and data, whether via adoption of legislation, the implementation of collaborative frameworks, best practices and self-regulatory and technological measures by business and users.

The reference to a "right to privacy" does not appear as such in the language of the Tunis Commitment. The need for security is instead underlined throughout the text. The problem is that security is viewed as something more important than what is a right ? the right to privacy ? even though security is not a right, but only a value, unlike privacy, which is a fundamental right enshrined in several international human rights instruments, including in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Since the language of the Tunis Commitment and Agenda do not contain strong wording on the necessity to comply with fundamental human rights, such as the freedom of speech and the right to privacy, there is a risk that authoritarian and undemocratic governments around the world might use the loose language to justify many of their political actions in the name of security without respecting citizens' privacy rights.

For the last eight years, EPIC has been publishing an annual report about the developments in the field of privacy in more than 70 countries in the world, Privacy and Human Rights. I will go through some of the most important developments in the field of privacy in the last 2 years.

1. Most important recent developments in privacy in the world

2. Important debates in the field of privacy in the world

3. What should be the focus of discussions at the Internet Governance Forum next autumn?