"At Benetech, we are deeply concerned about the growing reach of state surveillance under outdated legal frameworks. Our Human Rights Program supports a globally distributed community of human rights practitioners and activists that are often the target of surveillance and censorship. Surveillance is a common strategy to monitor and repress the work of many of our partners and, in many cases, is directly related to harm and risk exposure for those that have the courage to document and speak out about human rights abuses. Based on the most recent revelations on mass surveillance by several governments it is clear that privacy protections have not kept pace with technological development. Governments should modernize national practices to protect our privacy in the digital age as an extension of their obligation to protect human rights. To understand the negative effect of unchecked surveillance it is also important to consider the long term implications that this has on the ability of many organizations like ours to further support the human rights movement. Human rights practitioners and defenders have largely relied on international cooperation for the adoption of technologies for the advancement of their causes. The most recent revelations of large scale surveillance programs by several governments undermine the credibility of many well intended efforts that have supported technology transfer and capacity building for the global human rights movement."

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