New Delhi — Today, Access Now recognizes Justice Rohinton Nariman and the nine-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India that delivered the K. S. Puttaswamy vs Union Of India ruling among the annual Heroes and Villains award recipients for unanimously agreeing to recognize privacy as a fundamental right. While all nine justices deserve recognition for their heroic judgments, Justice Nariman earns individual recognition for specifically citing to the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance in his opinion.
Human rights are universal — including on the internet. To defend our privacy, in 2013 experts identified 13 principles governments must follow to ensure any electronic surveillance program fully respects human rights. They are known as the Necessary and Proportionate Principles. In celebration of those principles and the work of people around the world to protect digital rights, every year Access Now names “heroes” and “villains” who have either protected the principles of freedom online or worked to undermine them.
“Thanks to the justices of the Supreme Court, over 1.2 billion Indians now have a guaranteed fundamental right to privacy. We are proud to recognize this historic progressive decision that strongly emphasizes how India’s living constitution protects the right to privacy, especially in our digital age. We agree with the Supreme Court that government actions impacting privacy have to be tested with respect to the strongest international standards regarding necessity and proportionality, and that the State must act to protect the personal data of citizens collected by private and public actors,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Access Now’s director of public policy.
Previous heroes named by Access Now include U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and Edward Snowden. Read more about this year’s heroes and villains here.