Brennan Center, Groups Ask U.N. Human Rights Council to Review U.S. Spy Programs

The Brennan Center and seven other privacy and civil liberties groups submitted a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging them to review the U.S.’s dragnet surveillance programs and their impact on human rights.

September 16, 2014

The Brennan Center and seven other privacy and civil liberties groups submitted a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging them to review the U.S.’s dragnet surveillance programs and their impact on human rights. The report, submitted in advance of the Council's Universal Periodic Review of the U.S.’s human rights record in May 2015, provides an overview of mass electronic surveillance activities conducted by the U.S. in the name of foreign intelligence gathering and outlines the deficiencies in the domestic legal framework governing these activities, as well as inconsistencies with international human rights law.

Since the Council’s last review of the U.S.’s compliance with human rights obligations in 2010, classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the U.S. has been sweeping up massive amounts of digital communications and data of people around the world. Many of these operations are carried out with little meaningful oversight from either the courts or the legislature. The report not only provides an overview of these operations, but also explains how U.S. surveillance laws, policies and practices fail to meaningfully protect our rights to privacy, free expression and peaceful assembly in a digital age.

The report is a joint effort between the Brennan Center, Access, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation,  Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Human Rights Watch, and PEN American Center

Download the Report [PDF]


National Security Surveillance and Human Rights in a Digital Age