NEW YORK—This afternoon, within an hour of the publication of the President’s Review Panel report and recommendations on National Security Agency surveillance, the United Nations General Assembly Fifth Committee passed by consensus a new resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, despite earlier concerns by delegates from the United States and United Kingdom.

“This reaffirmation of the right to privacy in the digital age lends international credence to the ongoing surveillance debates in the U.S. and abroad,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN American Center. “PEN American Center is gratified in seeing the United Nations take this important first step to defend the human rights to privacy and freedom of opinion andexpression on the Internet as well as on the ground.”

PEN American Center has implored the Obama administration to apply meaningful change to existing U.S. government surveillance programs since details of NSA data collection were leaked in June 2013.

“While we are pleased to see the condemnation of existing NSA tactics, we are skeptical of any reform that allows for the continuation of mass data collection and storage for government use by any source,” Nossel said. “Any reform of the NSA surveillance program must take into consideration the rights and needs not only of high profile state leaders, but also of individual citizens in the United States and around the world.”


PEN American Center is an organization of 3,800 writers working to bring down barriers to free expression worldwide.

Suzanne Nossel, 212.334.1660 x 103, snossel [at]
Deji Olukotun, 212.334.1660 x 116, deji [at]