IPU sets new standards for digital freedom

28 Oct 2015 16:20pm


Digital freedom around the world took centre stage during the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly where parliamentarians looked at how to get a balance between security, privacy and surveillance, and review national laws.

The IPU assembly was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 17 to 22 October 2015 and engaged parliamentarians from 137 countries around the world.

Sharing the outcomes of the assembly at a media briefing here on Wednesday, Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Professor Peter Katjavivi said a resolution was adopted on democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms.

The IPU members set new standards on protecting democracy and digital freedom in an age of mass surveillance. Katjavivi said the resolution further urged parliaments to review national laws to prohibit the interception, collection, analysis and storage of individual's personal data without their informed consent of concerned or valid court orders.

"It (the resolution) underscores the need for privacy protection to be consistent across domestic and international borders and calls on parliaments to ensure that national laws cannot be bypassed by data-sharing agreements with foreign states or multi-nationals," he said.

Katjavivi added that the resolution also emphasises the importance of striking a balance between national security and individual freedoms in ensuring that measures taken in the name of national security and counter-terrorism do not undermine democracy or threaten human rights.