U.N. committee calls for end to excessive electronic spying

Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:00pm EST
 
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UNITED NATIONS Nov 26 (Reuters) - A U.N. General Assembly committee on Tuesday called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance and expressed concern at the harm such scrutiny, including spying in foreign states and the mass collection of personal data, may have on human rights.

The U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with human rights issues, adopted the German and Brazilian-drafted resolution by consensus. It is expected to be put to a vote in the 193-member General Assembly next month.

The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - known as the Five Eyes surveillance alliance - supported the draft resolution after language that had initially suggested foreign spying could be a human rights violation was weakened to appease them.

The draft text does not name specific countries but comes after former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden released details of a global spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency, which sparked outrage in Europe and Latin America.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Vicki Allen)