Madrid, 24 February 2014 – Access Info Europe today formally signed the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, and reiterated its call for greater transparency of state surveillance of private communications.

«In spite of the scandal which followed the Snowden revelations, we still have insufficient information about the nature, scale, and use by states of surveillance of private individuals,» said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

In November 2013, Access Info Europe and the Web Foundation initiated a letter, signed by 140 civil society organisations and individual leaders and thinkers including Aruna Roy and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, which called on participating states in the Open Government Partnership to commit to greater transparency about surveillance in line with their commitment to the OGP principles of transparency and accountability. No formal response from the OGP states has been received to date.

«We are talking here about the basic levels of transparency needed in democratic societies. Violations of our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom expression have already occurred and we now need full information and accountability,» added Darbishire.

To date the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance have been signed by 409 civil society organisations, 50 experts, academics & prominent individuals, and 4 elected officials.

The 13 Principles include Legality, Legitimate Aim, Necessity, Proportionality, Due Process, Public Oversight, User Notification, and Safeguards against Illegitimate Access.

The specific principle on Transparency reads as follows:

States should be transparent about the use and scope of communications surveillance techniques and powers. They should publish, at a minimum, aggregate information on the number of requests approved and rejected, a disaggregation of the requests by service provider and by investigation type and purpose. States should provide individuals with sufficient information to enable them to fully comprehend the scope, nature and application of the laws permitting communications surveillance. States should enable service providers to publish the procedures they apply when dealing with State communications surveillance, adhere to those procedures, and publish records of State communications surveillance.

» Read the full Principles here

» Read the OGP Surveillance Letter here