On 17 December, 2013 a Public Statement signed by more than 100 organizations across the world, including Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) from Georgia, was sent to the Co-Chairs of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the OGP Steering Committee and OGP member States.
The Public Statement refers to the concern on disproportionate surveillance practices across the globe and the request to promote more transparency. “These practices erode the checks and balances on which accountability depends, and have a deeply chilling effect on freedom of expression, information and association, without which the ideals of open government have no meaning”, is read in the Statement.
By spreading the Public statement, the undersigned civil society organizations affirm their deep commitment to the goals of the Open Government Partnership and express their profound concerns regarding the mass surveillance tendencies which risks the key goals of the OGP.
As the illegal surveillance tendencies have been of broad interest to the general public in Georgia, IDFI fully recognizes the needs of the proposed recommendations to be taken into consideration in the OGP Georgia action plan.
The specific recommendations are rendered by the undersigned CSOs towards the decision makers:
- Recognize the need to update understandings of existing privacy and human rights law to reflect modern surveillance technologies and techniques.
- Commit in their OGP action plans to complete a review of national laws by October 2014, with the aim of defining reforms needed to regulate necessary, legitimate and proportional State involvement in communications surveillance; to guarantee freedom of the press; and to protect whistleblowers who lawfully reveal abuses of state power.
- Commit in their OGP action plans to transparency on the mechanisms for surveillance, on exports of surveillance technologies, aid directed towards implementation of surveillance technologies, and agreements to share citizen data among states.
The initiators of the statement call on the OGP Steering Committee to review the submitted recommendations in a timely manner and accordingly to be envisaged in the OGP action plans by the OGP member States.