The mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy (SRP) & the EU-supported MAPPING project are collaborating to organise a structured public consultation about new legal measures at international law intended to improve the protection of privacy in this age of ubiquitous surveillance.
Prior to appointment to his UN role, and concurrently ever since he came into post, together with a number of other colleagues, the SRP launched the MAPPING project in March 2014 and has also co-ordinated that project since inception. MAPPING has been working with a wide variety of stakeholders in order to, amongst other objectives, identify principles about government surveillance activities which may need to be dealt with at the level of international law. This has led to the MAPPING Project developing and drafting a legal instrument which can be used for a wide range of purposes, whether to produce soft law such as a recommendation and thus serve as a model for domestic law on the subject or even hard law through a multilateral international treaty on surveillance.
The eventual possible use at UN level of a draft legal instrument on surveillance was mentioned by Professor Joe Cannataci in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 07 March 2017.
This report has received considerable international attention and, in response to the overwhelmingly positive reception to the idea of such a legal instrument, the SRP has, throughout March, April and May 2017, carried out further extensive, confidential informal consultations world-wide about the thrust of the text and especially his mention of an International panel of judges and an International Data Access Warrant. These and other measures contemplated within the draft text developed in the MAPPING Project have been discussed and developed further during a series of behind-closed doors meetings during 2016-2017 in order to prepare a text which is mature enough to be launched for a wider public consultation.
The UN SRP and the Steering Committee of the MAPPING Project have now agreed on the following course of joint action in exploring this subject further. If you want to read more about further development of the draft text at expert group level, go to the MAPPING project web, https://mappingtheinternet.eu/news