About the Principles

The International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles” or “13 Principles”) were developed to apply existing human rights law to a new world: a world of technically sophisticated and pervasive digital surveillance of ordinary individuals.

Launched at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2013, the 13 Principles are a product of a year-long consultation process among civil society, privacy and technology experts (read here, here, here and here. They articulate what international human rights law—which binds every country across the globe—require of governments in the digital age. They speak to a growing global consensus that modern surveillance has gone too far and needs to be restrained. They also give benchmarks that people around the world can use to evaluate and push for changes in their own legal systems.

The coalition of the Principles encourage privacy advocates, rights organizations, scholars from legal and academic communities, and other members of civil society to use these documents to advocate for changes in how present law is interpreted and how new laws are crafted.

You can support the Principles by signing as an individual, or joining our coalition as an organization.


The International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance was co-operatively written by privacy organizations and advocates worldwide, including but not limited to Access Now, Article 19, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, Asociación por los Derechos Civiles, Association for Progressive Communications, Bits of Freedom, Center for Internet & Society India, Comisión Colombiana de Juristas,Electronic Frontier Foundation, European Digital Rights, Fundación Karisma, Open Net Korea, Open Rights Group, Privacy International, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. More than 40 privacy and security experts participated in the drafting process through the Brussels meeting organized by Privacy International in October 2012, the Brazil meeting organized by EFF in December 2012 as well as all those experts who submitted comments via the online consultation. In addition, we also want to thank IP Justice, SHARE Foundation - SHARE Defense, IFEX Network and Instituto NUPEF for help connecting concerned groups together.