Rights groups urge UN to back privacy protection

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Associated Press

Posted on November 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 21 at 7:02 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights groups are urging the U.N. General Assembly to approve a resolution to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age and criticizing the U.S. and its key allies for trying to weaken it.

Brazil and Germany, whose leaders allegedly have been targeted by U.S. eavesdropping, circulated a revised draft late Wednesday after intense negotiations. The rights organizations said Thursday the text was "relatively undamaged" despite lobbying by the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which comprise the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing group.

The key compromise dropped the contention that the domestic and international interception and collection of communications and personal data, "in particular massive surveillance," might constitute a human rights violation. The new text expresses deep concern at "the negative impact" of such surveillance.

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