Strict surveillance measures adopted to monitor citizens during coronavirus lockdowns could result in the long-lasting theft of personal freedoms, the United Nations’ privacy chief has warned.
“Dictatorships and authoritarian societies often start in the face of a threat,” Joseph Cannataci, the UN special rapporteur on the right to privacy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“That is why it is important to be vigilant today and not give away all our freedoms”.
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The coronavirus pandemic has led governments to declare themselves essentially on a war footing – with many politicians referencing an “invisible” enemy or attacker.
At the advice of health experts, even countries regarded as the world’s most liberal democracies have enforced quarantine measures thought unthinkable mere weeks ago.
Surveillance measures should be written in law and clearly limited in time, he told the foundation. »