Abstract: This paper investigates the problems associated with remote sensing from space-based platforms as they relate to the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. Many nations and international organizations recognize a right of individual privacy. This paper advances the notion of a right to collective privacy, what can best be described as a “communal right of privacy,” especially as it relates to the rights of indigenous people to be free of wanton exploitation from data on their lands and waters that are collected from orbiting surveillance and sensing platforms. Indigenous peoples argue that since they are the direct descendants of the original peoples who settled their lands before conquest by outsiders, they have an “inalienable” right to their territories and the natural resources contained therein (Nagengast, Stavenhagen, and Kearney, 1992, 31). Clearly, the sparse number of international treaties and other regimes that seek to protect the rights of indigenous people to their lands and resources must be strengthened to address privacy protections against wanton snooping from overhead surveillance satellites.
For full text of this article, which is still very relevant today, click here.
- What is the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights? (greenanswers.com)
by Robert Gellman, JD, Communia Blog, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, January 25, 2012
The Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Jones, a case that addressed the use of global positioning system GPS tracking devices for law enforcement purposes, is hot privacy news. Almost immediately, the decision sparked numerous and sometimes conflicting comments. The issue here is whether the decision will prompt Congress to consider legislation and what that legislation might look like.
The majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia used a property-based approach to conclude that attaching a GPS device to a car and using the GPS to monitor the car’s movements on public streets constitutes a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The narrow basis for the decision turned on the fact that the government physically occupied private property the car for the purpose of obtaining information.
A concurring opinion by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by three of his colleagues reached the same outcome, but Alito wanted to determine whether the car owner’s reasonable expectations of privacy were violated by the long-term monitoring of his car. Essentially, Alito thought that the majority’s property analysis was not scalable to present day surveillance issues and that an expectation of privacy standard would reach the same result without the baggage of the property-based approach.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the majority opinion, but she also filed a concurring opinion. She observed that physical intrusion is not always necessary for surveillance e.g., by tracking a cell phone and argued that how surveillance is done may affect an expectation of privacy. So in her opinion Sotomayor asked whether people reasonably expect that their movements will be recorded in a manner that allows the government to ascertain their political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and more. She even questioned the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties. That was the holding in United States v. Miller, 425 U. S. 435, 443 1976 , a case increasingly criticized by privacy advocates as inconsistent with life today.
For full text of this article, which provides an insightful overview of what crafting and passing updated privacy legislation might entail, visit Legislating Privacy After US v Jones « Communia.
Robert Gellman, JD is a privacy and information policy consultant in Washington, D.C. He served for 17 years on the staff of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives. He can be reached at bob [at] bobgellman. [dot] com or visit his website at http://www.bobgellman.com/. Also check out his article Location Privacy: Is Privacy in Public a Contradiction in Terms?
- Supreme Court GPS Tracking Case: Round-up and Resources (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Supreme Court Relies on Kerr’s Theory of Fourth Amendment and Property (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Location Privacy: Is Privacy in Public a Contradiction in Terms? (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
Journal of Space Law Volume 34 (2008) Now Available Online Without Charge
by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, ResCommunis Blog, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law, March 11, 2011
The Journal of Space Law Volume 34 (2008) is now available on-line. The first part of the volume contains the papers from the The 2nd International Conference on the State of Remote Sensing Law: A Comprehensive Look at the State of Remote Sensing Law held at at the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, 16-18 January 2008. The second part of the volume features a special section: The 50th Anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Act. …
For full text of the article, visit Journal of Space Law Volume 34 (2008) Now Available Online Without Charge « Res Communis.