Chicago Journal of International Law


This Article addresses the question whether global human rights law adequately protects private communications of individuals from state and non-state actor eavesdropping, data collection, and data mining engaged in for national security purposes. It concludes that human rights protection is lacking and needs to be reformed if what are apparently current public expectations about privacy are to be adequately met. Not all persons are protected from extraterritorial infringement of their privacy interests, and there is a well-recognized test regarding who is entitled to extraterritorial protection that precludes protection for most persons. Further, the human right to private communication is not absolute. For those who have such a right, significant and far-reaching limitations exist that will often assure the propriety of various forms of national security intrusion, especially in contexts of self-defense and war.