Dr Eliza Watt Commended on Her Excellent Contribution to the Commentary on the UN Group of Government Experts 2015 cyber norms proposal coordinated by Leiden University’s Hague Programme for Cyber Norms
In response to rapidly emerging threats and risks relating to state behaviour in cyberspace the United Nations Group of Government Experts (UN GGE) issued in 2015 a list of recommendations of responsible state behaviour. Three years later, Leiden University’s Hague Program for Cyber Norms successfully concluded its commentary project on these recommendations, titled ‘Civil Society and Disarmament 2017: Voluntary, Non-Legally Binding Norms for Responsible State Behaviour in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies: A Commentary’ (the Commentary).
Dr Eliza Watt, a Bournemouth University law lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Conflict, Rule of Law and Society (CRoLS), was invited to take part in the consultation process and to contribute to the commentary on UN GGE 2015 Recommendation 13(e). The Recommendation calls upon states to guarantee full respect for human rights ensuring the secure use of ICTs. Dr Watt made a valid contribution to the Commentary, including the analysis of the scope of application of human rights treaties in cyberspace, in particular the extraterritorial obligations of states under these treaties and the extent of states’ obligations when conducting cyber surveillance activities. She has also provided a synthesis on the proposal by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) regarding its multilateral ‘non-spy’ treaty put forward in 2015. In addition, Dr Watt also recognized the need for a clear definition and distinction being made in law between cyber surveillance and cyber espionage. Her other contributions related to the issues of data protection, focusing on the CoE 2001 Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows. Her recommendation in this context related to the CoE Draft Modernized Convention on the Automatic Processing of Personal Data published in 2016 as representing perhaps the only prospect for a universal standard in the field of data privacy.
Dr Watt has been commended for her ‘excellent contribution to the Commentary’ by one of its co-authors, Dr Barrie Sander of Leiden University.