A Race to the Bottom? A Comparison of Trends in Privacy and Surveillance in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Ms. Carly Nyst

The obstacles to protecting privacy in ubiquitous network societies are not unique to Asia – they are faced by privacy advocates and lawmakers in emerging economies and developing countries across Africa and Latin America as well. As such countries face the challenges of development, privatisation, modernisation and the provision of public services to rapidly growing populations, they are adopting laws and police that threaten the right to privacy and data protection and undermine free expression. Laws that expand the scope of State surveillance and eliminate online autonomy are proliferating, as companies expand their use of personal data with little concern for the impact on individual rights. Standards are being lowered, not raised, and countries are following the leads of their regional peers in removing privacy protections and increasing the power of the State to surveil. When it comes to privacy, we are in a race to the bottom.

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