Header image for news printout

France: UN privacy expert announces fact-finding visit

GENEVA (9 November 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, will carry out his first official visit to France from 13 to 17 November, to explore issues including security, surveillance and the use of personal data by private corporations.

“I will pay special attention to the newly approved counter-terrorism legislation and discuss the need to strictly respect the right to privacy, among other human rights, in the efforts made by France to protect its population from the threat of terrorism,” said the Special Rapporteur.

He will also examine the use of big data, open data, and health information.

“As a highly developed and influential democracy, France has a leadership role to play in relation to the right to privacy,” said the Special Rapporteur. “During my visit I will discuss with the French Government ways to advance the protection and promotion of the right to privacy both in the context of counter-terrorism and in relation to the use of private data by corporations” the expert added.

Mr Cannataci, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the promotion and protection of the right to privacy around the world in the digital age, will also study good practices that can serve as an example to other countries.

During his five-day mission, he will meet representatives of the French Government, the private sector and civil society organizations working on the right to privacy.

A press conference to share the Special Rapporteur’s preliminary findings will be held on Friday, 17 November, at the René Cassin room of the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme (CNCDH), located at 35 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, at 15:00 local time. Access will be strictly limited to accredited and registered journalists. For registration, please contact Ms Charline Thiery (charline.tiery@cncdh.fr).

The independent expert will present a comprehensive report containing his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.

ENDS

Mr Joseph Cannataci (Malta) was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy by the Human Rights Council in July 2015. He is an academic who has had a pioneering role in the development on data protection, privacy law and technology law. A UK Chartered Information Technology Professional & Fellow of the British Computer Society, he also continues to act as Expert Consultant to a number of international organisations.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page - France

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
In Paris, during the visit: Gabrielle Wellemans (+41 79 444 6129 / gwellemans@ohchr.org). In Geneva, before and after the visit: Jon Izagirre Garcia (+41 229 177 915 / jizagirre@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9826, mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org)

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org