Edward Snowden’s revelations have made it clear to Americans that the federal government has routinely violated their right to privacy for more than a decade. Although today’s powerful and sophisticated technologies can allow us greater enjoyment of our human rights, they are dual use. When these technologies are placed in the wrong hands, they undermine the human right to privacy and threaten other rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

In 1992, the United States ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a human rights treaty that guarantees privacy rights. More specifically, Article 17 of the ICCPR protects everyone from arbitrary or unlawful interferences with their “privacy, family, home, or correspondence.” 

Through its international advocacy work, the ACLU is working to ensure that the right to privacy in the digital age is safeguarded as a human right.

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