The principles were drafted at a meeting of civil society groups and
industry in Brussels to address concerns relating to the expansion
Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to the maintenance
of democratic societies. It is essential to human dignity and it
reinforces other rights, such as freedom of expression and association,
and is recognised as a fundamental human right under international human
rights law(1). Activities that are contrary to the right to privacy,
including the surveillance by public authorities of personal
communications, can only be justified where they are prescribed by law,
necessary for a legitimate aim, and strictly proportionate(2) (show more).
It is therefore necessary that governments, international organisations,
civil society and private service providers articulate baseline
principles establishing the necessary level of protection for digital
communications and communications metadata to match the goals
articulated in those international instruments a democratic society
governed by the rule of law. The purpose of these principles is to:
* Provide guidance for legislative changes and advancements related to
communications and communications metadata to ensure that pervasive use
of modern communications technology does not result in a drastic erosion
of everyone's privacy.
* Establish appropriate safeguards to regulate access by public
authorities (government agencies, departments, intelligence services or
law enforcement agencies) to communications and communications metadata
about an individual's use of an electronic service or communication media.
With these principles we seek only to establish the base level of
protections that we expect in surveillance laws. We call on governments
to establish even stronger protections as required by their
constitutions and human rights obligations, or as they recognize that
technological changes or other factors require increased protection.