Human Rights

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A Dangerous Convergence: The Inevitability of Mass Surveillance in European Jurisprudence

Recent Grand Chamber judgments in Big Brother Watch and Others v. United Kingdom and Centrum för Rättvisa v. Sweden held that some aspects of the UK’s and Sweden’s domestic surveillance regimes violated Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). Despite the findings of violation due to insufficient safeguards, the Grand Chamber asserted that “bulk interception is of vital importance to Contracting States in identifying threats to their national security” and “no alternative or combination of alternatives would be sufficient to substitute for the bulk interception power” (BBW ¶ 166; CFR ¶ 365). As has already been discussed on EJIL: Talk!, the judgments normalize mass surveillance regimes for decades to come (see here). An Emerging Convergence: Procedural Fetishism In this post, I do not discuss the judgment in detail or repeat the same argument about the normalization of mass surveillance (although I strongly agree with it). Instead, I suggest that ECtHR’s approach in Big Brother Watch…

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The IMF, WTO, World Bank, and WHO all come around? Multilateral Unity Against Inequitable Global COVID Vaccine Distribution, but still sans Human Rights

Sometimes, they do come around, albeit so narrowly. Back in February 2021, I argued that international law (specifically based on the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Right to Development presently being codified in the draft Convention on the Right to Development) compels States and non-State actors to design equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution…

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The Oxford Statement on International Law Protections in Cyberspace: The Regulation of Information Operations and Activities

The Internet has allowed the dissemination of content across the globe in a matter of seconds. Recommendation algorithms, found in social media platforms and search engines, have also dangerously amplified the reach of false, misleading, and violent content (see here, here, and here). Because they are geared towards…

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Breaking new ground – Again? The CERD Committee’s decision on admissibility in Palestine v. Israel

After its decision on jurisdiction of December 2019 with regard to the inter-State communication brought by Palestine against Israel (CERD/C/100/5) under Art. 11 (1) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the CERD Committee now declared said communication admissible. In this remarkable decision, the Committee found that the prior exhaustion of domestic…

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The Grand Normalization of Mass Surveillance: ECtHR Grand Chamber Judgments in Big Brother Watch and Centrum för rättvisa

Yesterday the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its most important judgments on electronic mass surveillance (or bulk interception) post-Snowden: Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom, nos. 58170/13 etc and Centrum för rättvisa v. Sweden, no.

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