International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

Surveillance and
Human Rights

In this digital age, governments, intelligence agencies and private companies across the globe can easily see where we're going, who we're talking to and what interests we have. Often harvested without our knowledge or consent, this personal information can be used to target us unfairly, influence our choices and suppress our voices when we express dissent.

People from all backgrounds experience these intrusions, which interfere with our fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association. However the effects are disproportionately felt by marginalised or activist populations, increasing inequalities.

INCLO brings together a global network of technologists, legal, and Surveillance and Human Rights experts. Our research and community engagement show how domestic laws and international treaties are slow to respond to these intrusions or are absent altogether. Our advocacy strives to establish and ensure human rights protections, both in legal frameworks and in practice.


  1. To research, educate, and litigate for the protection and enhancement of our rights and freedoms in the digital age at international and local levels.
  2. To advocate for strong oversight, transparency, and public disclosure about the way state and private actors alike access and use our personal information.


  1. Spying On Dissent (2019)

    Surveillance technologies and protest.

    Policing technologies are harming protest rights in INCLO member countries.

  2. Unanswered Questions (2018)

    INCLO filed coordinated Freedom of Information requests in 2017 to learn how intelligence sharing practices operate in our countries. Our report details responses, desk research, confidential interviews with officials and experiences in our 13 countries. We reveal ongoing insufficient laws, oversight and transparency governing these practices.

  3. OHCHR Submissions (2018)

    INCLO provided input to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on human rights challenges relating to privacy in the digital age. We recommended that the Human Rights Committee issue a new General Comment on the right to privacy under Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

  4. Surveillance and Democracy (2016)

    Our report offers a ground-level view of some of the ways surveillance, and digital electronic surveillance in particular, is impacting on the lives of citizens and residents in INCLO countries.


  1. Intelligence Sharing Project

    INCLO members filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in our attempt to shine light on the intelligence sharing practices and agreements between different intelligence agencies around the world. This is the first multinational coalition demanding governments release information about practices shielded from accountability. Please see our report here on our findings to date.

    • Intelligence Sharing Project
      Freedom of Information Requests and responses
      Go to Page
  2. 10 NGOs v the United Kingdom

    Seven INCLO members filed complaints arguing that the UK’s historical bulk surveillance violated our rights to privacy and to free expression. In September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights agreed. And now we’ve sought a further ruling that gathering enormous quantities of data about a wide range of people can never be justified.

  3. Condemning the internet crackdown in Russia

    The Moscow court ban of the encrypted messaging service Telegram LLP is one in a series of attacks on people’s fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression in Russia. INCLO asked Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple to condemn the ban and the wider internet crackdown in Russia.

  4. Surveillance Matters

    INCLO in partnership with our HCLU member created a website with free, ethical and open sourced tips on how to better protect your privacy and personal information protection online.