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UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights 261

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the silly-human-rights-are-for-robots dept.
An anonymous reader writes A top United Nations human rights official released a report Wednesday that blasts the United States' mass surveillance programs for potentially violating human rights on a worldwide scale. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also praised whistleblower Edward Snowden and condemned U.S. efforts to prosecute him. "Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected," she said. "We need them." In particular, the surveillance programs violate Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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UN Report Finds NSA Mass Surveillance Likely Violated Human Rights

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  • by digsbo (1292334) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:03AM (#47475443)
    does that mean I'm no longer an extremist for demanding my Constitutional rights be respected?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:15AM (#47475559)

      No. That means that the UN is now a terrorist organization and US will no longer give a shit about resolutions passed by it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:25AM (#47475661)

        No. (...) US will no longer give a shit about resolutions passed by it.

        The US never did give a shit about UN resolutions. It only cares that other countries do.

        • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @01:33PM (#47477015)

          wrong. the US now does not care about anything but itself.

          rights belong to the highest bidder or power holder.

          that means: not you or me and certainly not some powerless speech-giving org.

          the US is out of control. we all know this now and we all see it.

          the question is: who has enough power to control the current top-dog and put him back in his dog-house?

          THAT is the question. the US is not going to give in willingly.

          I guess its at last a tiny half-step - having the ROW realize that the US is out of control and is violating the rights of, pretty much, anyone who dares try have a private thought or conversation.

      • That's different to the status ante... how?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:15AM (#47475565)
      Remember when the UN complained about Guantanamo Bay? Well, this is similar.
      • Take it up with Obama. After all, he's a constitutional scholar.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Remember when the UN complained about Guantanamo Bay? Well, this is similar.

        Guantanamo Bay was (and is) a legal black hole. Past U.S. Supreme Court decisions held that not only U.S. Citizens but also foreigners on U.S. soil have Constitutional protection. So housing Taliban prisoners in U.S. prisons would've automatically granted them U.S. Constitutional rights, including the right to a speedy trial, the right to know what they're accused of, and a guarantee of legal counsel. Well guess what? Guantanam

        • Well guess what? Guantanamo Bay isn't on U.S. soil.

          This seems like one of those 'clever' loopholes that aren't really loopholes at all if you take into account the spirit of the constitution. Then it is a clear constitutional violation, just like the TSA, free speech zones, and all the other things the government tried to 'justify' using awful, awful logic.

    • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:18AM (#47475591)

      No, it just means that your country has more in common with countries like Iran or Soviet era Russia than you'd like to admit.

      Did you know that the US is one of only 3 countries that haven't ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? The other two are Somalia and South Sudan.

      • by digsbo (1292334)

        No, it just means that your country has more in common with countries like Iran or Soviet era Russia than you'd like to admit.

        You haven't seen my anti-US-government rants, have you?

        • by JMJimmy (2036122)

          If I have I wouldn't recognize it as you - I don't look at the usernames, just the comments.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:50AM (#47475951)

          No, it just means that your country has more in common with countries like Iran or Soviet era Russia than you'd like to admit.

          You haven't seen my anti-US-government rants, have you?

          These days the U.S. Constitution would count as an anti-US-government rant so that's not exactly a distinguishing feature.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Are you saying that you *do* like to admit how bad our government has gotten? I'm all for acknowledging it, but I most assuredly don't like it. Still I suppose some people do enjoy having something worthwhile to rant about.

          • by digsbo (1292334)

            I like to bring it up. I'm happy to admit it. That's how it gets fixed. Or, at least, I know you can't fix it without talking about it.

            I'm unhappy with the state of things. I'm even unhappier when people paper it over.

    • Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      - said by Abraham Lincoln on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

    • by gweihir (88907)

      You still are a terrorist for demanding any rights at all. After all, "rights" could make it harder to fight terrorists, so you clearly support them. As to how bad the problem already is, just look how hard it is to find any of the doubtless millions and millions of terrorists! They have near perfect camouflage and the war against them will be lost if they are not identified and killed soon!

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      You're an extremist if you think your rights supersede the purposes and principles of the U.N..

      From the United Nations charter:
      "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

      What are their purposes and principles? Only the U.N. knows for sure, but my observations have indicated that they're in favor of whatever the U.S. is against (and vice versa). I think the U.N. would be more believable if they located their headquarters in some place
    • Do you really believe the UN thinks the US Constitution is a good thing?

  • Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:04AM (#47475453)

    The single greatest evil that mankind ever unleashed upon the world was a corrupt government.

    We need more people like Snowden. And when they pop up, we should step up and defend them.

    (Of course, all *I* am brave enough to do is post an AC comment on a geek forum....but....maybe somebody else will be brave enough to do what needs to be done).

    • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:31AM (#47475741) Journal

      To agents in the NSA: It doesn't matter if 999 of 1000 of you are honest. All it takes is one G. Gordon Liddy type who ignores requirements for warrants to listen in on political opponents, and the whole thing is worthless. Possibly that is also the real intent, easy obfuscation of ultimate corruption.

      Known historical democracies collapse when they "temporarily" give emergency powers to someone. Greece, Rome, Germany 80 years ago.

      And you're participating in this modern panopticon as a rube while someone, maybe next to you, spies for a party or powerful faction.

      • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:44AM (#47475885)

        To agents in the NSA: It doesn't matter if 999 of 1000 of you are honest.

        If they were honest, they wouldn't be collecting everyone's data to begin with. That in itself is a violation of people's liberties.

        • Re:Agreed. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @12:00PM (#47476085) Homepage

          If they were honest, they wouldn't be collecting everyone's data to begin with. That in itself is a violation of people's liberties.

          Except that the response you get from Americans is "well, fuck it, as long as it's someone else's rights, who cares?".

          Which more or less forces the rest of the world to decide that the rights of Americans isn't their damned problem. Because the rest of the world doesn't see their rights as secondary to those of Americans.

          • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bigpat (158134) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @12:20PM (#47476299)

            Except that the response you get from Americans is "well, fuck it, as long as it's someone else's rights, who cares?".

            Actually, the NSA is actively violating the constitutional rights of every single American by ordering all the companies we do business with to hand over all their records on us. It matters because when the rule of law, especially our fundamental rights, are not respected by those with the highest responsibility to uphold them, then the rule of law breaks down and then we get the rule of the strongest factions and the elimination of freedom for all. We might already be there, but I hope it is not too late to restore the rule of law without a new civil war or a new revolution.

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Re "If they were honest, they wouldn't be collecting everyone's data to begin with. That in itself is a violation of people's liberties."
          They have to collect it all to know who to target with software or hardware to get around individual use of encryption.
          Collecting all data finds out why a person is interesting in encryption. Then seek the plain text thanks to tame telcos, OS, standards.
          You read up on or show an interest in TOR, your ip is noted for some further consideration. How do they know you loo
      • by ultranova (717540)

        To agents in the NSA: It doesn't matter if 999 of 1000 of you are honest. All it takes is one G. Gordon Liddy type who ignores requirements for warrants to listen in on political opponents, and the whole thing is worthless.

        It takes one agent who gets paid in gold and 999 who get paid in security and convenience. The exact same as with police or Catholic Church's abuse scandal. That's the way systematic corruption works: one bad apple didn't make the tree rotten, the tree was always rotten and the bad apple

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:06AM (#47475475)

    I can understand very well why the UN might not have done this earlier - the US government would want to quash any positive PR for a man they consider to be a traitor, and I'm sure they can exert enough force on the UN to ensure this happens. I would not be at all surprised if that was why this report hadn't come out until now.

    The question is, though, what made them decide to release it?

    • by sjames (1099)

      Probably because any righteous indignation the U.S. can raise now would be like a homeless man with a sharting problem ranting about bad hygiene.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:08AM (#47475499)
    In 1948, the United States voted for that declaration.

    "n 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 48 in favor, none against"

    This was the West announcing their idea of human rights.

    (see Wikipedia)
  • It looks like Ivan just violated the human rights of about 300 people by blowing up their airliner.
    http://www.reuters.com/article... [reuters.com]

  • Well, to be fair, Kissinger inside a Doonesbury strip said, "I'm sick and tired of people asking about human rights. What do you want: human rights or world peace?"

    harrumph

  • Hypocrites (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:28AM (#47475697) Homepage

    Let's take a look at the membership of the UN Human Rights Commission-

    China
    Kuwait
    Pakistan
    Russia
    Saudi Arabia
    UAE
    Venezuela

    Clearly these folks are qualified to tell other people about how important civil rights are.

    • Re:Hypocrites (Score:4, Informative)

      by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @12:25PM (#47476345)

      You're not listing the entire group membership

      And you're mixing the human rights commission with the human rights council and cherrypicking from the bottom

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org]

      Just because some nations with less than stellar reputations themselves are on the council and/or commission does not automatically invalidate their mission or what the UN commission / council have to say.

      I understand the worry of "putting the fox in charge of the hen house" but one could put it another way: Even these countries see we (the US) is being hypocritical and violating human rights.

      • The fact that those countries were allowed into any human rights group shows what a worthless joke the UN has become.

    • by Megol (3135005)

      You forgot US (supporting torture, executions etc.).

      But this kind of excessive black/white thinking can be an indication of a mental disorder. Not in your case though, it seems you are simply incapable of formulating the question (nor the answer to it): what is the best existing global organization to make such a declaration?

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