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UN report promotes encryption as fundamental and protected right

A woman looks at a data chip containing encryption codes for mobile and landline phones during a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, 8 March 2014
A woman looks at a data chip containing encryption codes for mobile and landline phones during a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, 8 March 2014

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Excerpt of a 16 June 2015 CPJ Blog post by By Geoffrey King, Internet Advocacy Coordinator.

On Wednesday [17 June], Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye will present his report on international legal protection for encryption and anonymity to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report is an important contribution to the security conversation at a time when some Western leaders are calling for ill-informed and impossible loopholes in technology--a trend that facilitates surveillance and tends to enable states that openly seek to repress journalists.

Ethiopia, which aggressively prosecuted a group known as the "Zone 9" bloggers for participating in email encryption training, is one such state. Authorities there jail more journalists than any other country in Africa, other than Eritrea, and it is the fourth most censored country in the world, according to CPJ research. The Ethiopian government is suspected of conducting widespread surveillance inside the county and of hacking the computers of journalists living overseas.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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