This week, Wikileaks unveiled their latest revelation regarding the American government (in particular the Central Intelligence Agency) and their cyber-capabilities, indicating that the CIA was able to remotely hack into most smartphones, as well as other common technology like certain television sets, in order to listen in on target conversations, among a number of other claims. If verified, this release could compete with previous leaks caused by the likes of Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden in terms of international fallout. In a bit of serendipitous timing, the United Nations just received their official report from the body’s first “Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy,” Joe Cannataci, who was assigned the task of investigating state surveillance in cyberspace after Edward Snowden released a slew of NSA data in 2015.
According to Cannataci’s report, which was debated by member states of the U.N. on Wednesday, now is the time for the international community to establish a treaty regarding the appropriate and responsible use of cyberspace for state-sanctioned intelligence gathering.
“It’s time to start reclaiming cyberspace from the menace of over-surveillance,” Cannataci told the UN Human Rights Council.
Per the website for the United Nations’ Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Cannataci was appointed to the role of “special rapporteur,” which is a title designated to “independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.” Cannataci’s appointment as the first ever special rapporteur on privacy is intended to last three years.