Global agreement on surveillance needed, says Hillary Clinton

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called for an international agreement on the amount of information governments are collecting electronically.

“At some point, I think there needs to be a global pact about surveillance and information and what it’s used for,” she was quoted as telling a storage and software vendor’s conference.

The comment was picked up by a number of news sites, but unfortunately it wasn’t expanded on — leaving the impression Clinton just dropped the remark. It was part of a speech in which she talked about privacy and security, admitting that “there’s no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas” after 9/11.

“I think it’s fair to say the Government, the NSA, didn’t so far as we know cross legal lines, but they came right up and sat on them,” ZDnet quoted her as saying.

Her idea for some sort of global agreement on citizen surveillance wasn’t adopted by any other government that we’ve been able to discern, including the United Nations. Its declaration of human rights says “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy.” Arguably the collection of data (including metadata) doesn’t interfere with privacy, but the way it is used can.

Widely seen as preparing a bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton also said the U.S. government doesn’t use personal data for commercial purposes.

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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