Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies

Freedom Online Coalition Publishes Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies


The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has published their Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies. This voluntary and non-legally binding document was developed through consensus by the FOC’s 36 Member States as well as by the following participants of the second Summit for Democracy: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ecuador, Iceland, Kosovo, Malta, and North Macedonia.

The Guiding Principles are intended to prevent the misuse of surveillance technologies by governments, and those acting on their behalf in three main areas of concern:

  • The use of Internet controls to suppress human rights and fundamental freedoms and unjustly limit access to information;
  • Pairing advanced video surveillance with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tools to persistently identify and monitor people without an appropriate legal basis; and
  • The use of big data analytic tools to support the discriminatory enforcement of laws and to target individuals or members of groups in marginalized or vulnerable situations, journalists, human rights defenders, workers and union leaders, dissidents, and other perceived government opponents as a means to enforce social and political control.

Read more about the Guiding Principles via FOC or download the full report here.

surveillance state; photo credit

Learn more about the issue and explore ICNL’s analyses on Technology & Civic Space here.