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Better Privacy Protections Are a Key to U.S. Foreign Policy Coherence

Alex Sinha,
Aryeh Neier Fellow,
Human Rights Watch & ACLU
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March 25, 2015

For all its interest in promoting human rights around the world, you’d think the United States would be more sensitive to the ways its own surveillance policies undermine those very rights.

Over the last few years, U.S. officials say they have spent more than $125 million to advance Internet freedom, which the State Department describes as a “foreign policy priority.” The U.S. rightly links Internet freedom with the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, as well as with the work of human rights defenders. It makes sense, therefore, that the U.S. also actively funds human rights defenders, and calls out other governments for mistreating them.

Yet surveillance conducted by the U.S. government – some of it unconstitutional and contrary to international human rights law – compromises Internet freedom, undermines the rights the government seeks to promote, and directly harms human rights defenders.

Read the rest at Defense One.

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