Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Side-Event on the Right to Privacy, October 13, 2020

14.10.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Since 2013, Brazil and Germany have partnered over the last seven years, coming back every second year for the renewal and adaptation of the resolution on the right to privacy. I believe that our action today remains as important as it was seven years ago, because we see in general terms that mass surveillance and collection of data is on an unprecedented scale, part of everyday life, and without sometimes any legal framework or independent oversight. Mass surveillance goes beyond mere data collection and might entail the consequences for the individual.

This is a general trend and therefore our resolution remains as important as before. We saw that during the economic crisis has even exacerbated this phenomenon. As we saw in recent months, governments are often prone to throwing overboard things that they had to fight for: human rights, gender equality, protection of children and young people. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the infinite opportunities of modern technology are also likely to be exploited without thinking about the consequences in terms of data protection and the right to privacy. To many, it seems the best solution to have all of the information on every individual immediately at your disposal, including sensitive data on health.

Coming back to my country, we had in Germany a long discussion about an app introduced by the German Government to facilitate contact tracing. It took a lot of careful considerations and engagement with civil society and data protection experts, so that this project makes sense, is useful and protects the right to privacy.

I'm very much looking forward to the discussion among experts and confirm that Brazil and Germany are again the starting point for the discussions in the U.N. We hope that with your support, we will bring this important work forward in the Resolution.

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