ID with the SR for the Right to Privacy Joseph Cannataci and the SR on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children Maud de Boer-Buquicchio

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Privacy Joseph Cannataci and the Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children Maud de Boer-Buquicchio

as delivered by Ian McKay, Attorney-Advisor.
37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 6, 2018

Thank you, Mr. President.

We were pleased to host Special Rapporteur Cannataci’s visit and look forward to reviewing his report.

The United States has a legacy of legal protections for individual privacy dating back to our founding.  For historical reasons, the U.S. privacy framework is different from that of other countries.  We employ context-specific state and federal privacy laws targeting concrete risks of harm.  Focusing on specific risks permits vigorous enforcement of the laws, resulting in privacy compliance rates among the world’s highest.

We note Special Rapporteur Cannataci’s draft of a legal instrument on surveillance and privacy.  We do not favor such an instrument.  Each country’s surveillance framework is complex and different one from the other.  Ours is the product of careful efforts to balance public safety and privacy.  A new instrument could be disruptive, with unforeseen consequences for public safety and privacy.  Moreover, a treaty process would be needlessly divisive and would not meet the mandate’s goals.  Exchanging best practices remains the best way to promote privacy.

We thank Special Rapporteur De Boer-Buquicchio for her presentation. We remain committed to addressing the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including through our foreign assistance programs aimed at strengthening the efforts of governments to effectively prosecute and convict child traffickers, to provide comprehensive, trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes, and to prevent child trafficking in all its forms.  On the issue of surrogacy that is raised in the report, we must reiterate our longstanding view that surrogacy arrangements fall outside the scope of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography because they do not involve any of the forms of exploitation identified in Article 3.  Surrogacy is legal, and regulated, in several U.S. jurisdictions, fully consistently with our obligations under the Protocol, and is lawfully practiced in many other countries.

Ms. Special Rapporteur: What theme do you intend to focus on in your next report?