An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Afghanistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law under the pre-August 15 government prohibited arbitrary interference in matters of privacy, but authorities did not always respect its provisions. The law contained additional safeguards for the privacy of the home, prohibiting night arrests, requiring the presence of a female officer during residential searches, and strengthening requirements for body searches. The government did not always respect these prohibitions.

Pre-August 15, government officials entered homes and businesses of civilians forcibly and without legal authorization. There were reports that government officials monitored private communications, including telephone calls and other digital communications, without legal authority or judicial warrant.

Likewise, numerous reports since August indicated that the Taliban entered homes and offices forcibly to search for political enemies and those who had supported the NATO and U.S. missions. On December 29, the Taliban’s “interim minister for the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” decreed all Taliban forces would not violate anyone’s privacy, including unnecessary searches of phones, homes, and offices, and that any personnel who did would be punished.

Albania

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and laws prohibit arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, but there were reports that the government failed to respect those prohibitions. During the year’s parliamentary election campaign, it emerged that a database with the personal information and contact details of approximately 900,000 citizens as well as their likely voter preferences, leaked into the public domain, potentially making voters vulnerable to pressure. A criminal investigation was launched by the Specialized Anticorruption Body (SPAK).

Algeria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution provides for the protection of a person’s “honor” and private life, including the privacy of home, communication, and correspondence. According to human rights activists, citizens widely believed the government conducted frequent electronic surveillance of a range of citizens, including political opponents, journalists, human rights groups, and suspected terrorists. Security officials reportedly visited homes unannounced and conducted searches without a warrant. The government charged the Ministry of National Defense cybercrime unit with coordinating anticybercrime efforts and engaging in preventive surveillance of electronic communications in the interests of national security, but it did not provide details regarding the limits of surveillance authority or corresponding protections for persons subject to surveillance. The Ministry of Justice stated the agency was subject to all existing judicial controls that apply to law enforcement agencies. In 2019 the government moved the agency from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Defense. A new decree allowed authorities to conduct domestic surveillance and required internet and telephone providers to increase cooperation with the Defense Ministry.

Andorra

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Angola

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit the arbitrary or unlawful interference of privacy, family, home, or correspondence, but the government did not always respect these prohibitions. Civil organizations and politically active individuals, including government critics, members of opposition parties, and journalists, complained that the government monitored their activities and membership. These groups also frequently complained of threats and harassment based on their affiliations with groups that were purportedly or explicitly antigovernment.

Antigua and Barbuda

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The “law” prohibits such actions. There were reports that police subjected Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the area administered by Turkish Cypriot authorities to physical surveillance and monitoring, including police patrols and questioning. Greek Cypriot and Maronite residents reported that police required them to report their location and when they expected visitors. A Maronite representative asserted that Turkish armed forces continued to occupy 18 houses in the Maronite village of Karpasia.

Argentina

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

As of October, formal investigations continued regarding possible illegal espionage during the administration of former president Mauricio Macri. Among the suspects were the former heads of Argentine Federal Intelligence Gustavo Arribas and Silvia Majdalani and other officials. Members of the intelligence agency were accused of having illegally monitored the activities and private communications of politicians (from ruling and opposition parties), journalists, labor leaders, and religious figures. On April 20, a bicameral congressional committee published a report on the case, which stated that the former administration committed illegal espionage against 354 individuals and 171 political organizations.

Armenia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits unauthorized searches and provides for the rights to privacy and confidentiality of communications. Law enforcement organizations did not always abide by these prohibitions.

Authorities may not legally tap telephones, intercept correspondence, or conduct searches without obtaining the permission of a judge based on compelling evidence of criminal activity. The constitution, however, stipulates exceptions when confidentiality of communication may be restricted without a court order when necessary to protect state security and conditioned by the special status of those in communication. Although law enforcement bodies generally adhered to legal procedures, observers claimed that certain judges authorized wiretaps and other surveillance requests from the NSS and police without the compelling evidence required by law. By contrast there were no reports that courts violated legal procedures when responding to such authorization requests from the SIS, the Investigative Committee, or the State Revenue Committee. Human rights lawyers reported cases of wiretapping of privileged attorney/client communication as part of criminal investigations. Such wiretapping is prohibited by law.

Australia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Police have authority to enter premises without a warrant in emergency circumstances.

Austria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Azerbaijan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary invasions of privacy and monitoring of correspondence and other private communications. The government generally did not respect these legal prohibitions.

While the constitution allows for searches of residences only with a court order or in cases specifically provided for by law, authorities often conducted searches without warrants. It was widely reported that the State Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs monitored telephone and internet communications (see section 2.a., Internet Freedom), particularly those of foreigners, prominent youth who were active online, and some political and business figures, activists, and persons engaged in international communication. Human rights lawyers asserted the postal service purposely lost or misplaced communications with the ECHR to inhibit proceedings against the government.

Throughout the year some websites and social media sources published leaked videos of virtual meetings and recorded conversations of opposition figures. It was widely believed that government law enforcement or intelligence services were the source of the leaked videos. For example, in March, the day after activist Narmin Shahmarzade was detained with 20 women attempting to stage a rally to raise awareness on domestic violence, doctored files from her smart phone appeared on a Telegram channel entitled, “Shahmarzade’s disclosures,” which included videos purporting to show her engaging in sexual acts. Authorities also allegedly hacked her Facebook profile, changing her profile name to “Shamtutan Narmin” (Slut Narmin). Activists believed government authorities were behind the campaign of intimidation.

There were reports the government punished family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives. For example, in March videos were disseminated purporting to show private citizen (and daughter of Jamil Hasanli, an opposition leader in exile) Gunel Hasanli engaged in sexual acts in her own bedroom in an effort to demean her. Hasanli released a statement explaining she had become a “target of such a large-scale (government) operation” when she started dating “Mahir,” a man whom she met online. Mahir was reportedly identified in the sex videos disseminated on Telegram channels that featured Hasanli. Hasanli said the relationship became serious, with Mahir giving her a gold ring and proposing to her. She claimed that Mahir drugged her one day to have one of the videos recorded. He later deleted all evidence of their relationship on her smart phone. Hasanli said she later suffered from severe allergic reactions and went to the hospital several times. She concluded, “The only purpose of abusing my desire to get married and own a nest in such a dirty and disgusting way is to discredit my father Jamil Hasanli, to overshadow his political activity, and this is what hurts me the most. I want to say that my father…had no information about my personal life.” A third sex video was disseminated on Telegram in April.

In contrast with 2020, during the year there were no public reports that authorities fired individuals from jobs or had individuals fired in retaliation for the political or civic activities of family members inside or outside the country.

Bahamas

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.

While the law usually requires a court order for entry into or search of a private residence, a police inspector or senior police official may authorize a search without a court order where probable cause exists to suspect a weapons violation or drug possession.

Bahrain

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution prohibits such actions, the government reportedly violated prohibitions against interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence. Human rights organizations reported security forces sometimes entered homes without authorization and destroyed or confiscated personal property. The law requires the government to obtain a court order before monitoring telephone calls, email, and personal correspondence. Many citizens and human rights organizations believed police used informant networks, including ones that targeted or used children younger than age 18.

Reports also indicated the government used computer and mobile phone programs to surveil political activists and members of the opposition inside and outside the country. At least 13 activists were specifically targeted using Pegasus spyware by the Israeli company NSO Group, according to cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab, with at least one of the individuals residing in the United Kingdom when the hacking occurred.

According to local and international human rights groups, security officials sometimes threatened a detainee’s family members with reprisals for the detainee’s unwillingness to cooperate during interrogations and refusal to sign confession statements.

Bangladesh

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law does not prohibit arbitrary interference with private correspondence. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies may monitor private communications with the permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs, but police rarely obtained such permission from the courts to monitor private correspondence. Human rights organizations alleged police, the National Security Intelligence, and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence employed informers to conduct surveillance and report on citizens perceived to be critical of the government.

During the year the government became increasingly active in monitoring social media sites and other electronic communications to scan public discussions on COVID-19 and the government’s handling of the virus. In March the Information Ministry announced the formation of a dedicated a unit to monitor social media and television outlets for “rumors” related to COVID-19.

On June 22, a Dhaka court issued a notice on behalf of 10 Supreme Court lawyers requesting the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to disclose the steps it had taken to prevent eavesdropping on private, telephone conversations. The notice mentioned 16 eavesdropping cases to be evaluated, which were previously disclosed by the press. Some of these cases involved eavesdropping on members of the political opposition. According to the press, the BTRC did not respond to the request.

In September 2020 the High Court asserted citizens’ right to privacy and stated the collection of call lists or conversations from public or private telephone companies without formal approval and knowledge of the individual must stop. In its verdict the court stated, “It is our common experience that nowadays private communications among citizens, including their audios/videos, are often leaked and published in social media for different purposes.”

Barbados

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Belarus

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, but the government did not respect these prohibitions. Authorities used wiretapping, video surveillance, and a network of informers that deprived persons of privacy.

The law requires a warrant before or immediately after conducting a search. The KGB has authority to enter any building at any time, as long as it applies for a warrant within 24 hours after the entry. The regime’s full control over the judiciary, however, made the warrant process a formality.

There were reports authorities entered properties without judicial or other appropriate authorization. After August 2020 and through 2021, multiple instances were reported of plainclothes officers forcing entry into private homes or businesses. These officers often refused to show identification or a warrant, or claimed it was sufficient for them to state their affiliation with a government agency and proceed with the entry. As of year’s end there was no indication that authorities had investigated or taken action against Mikalay Karpiankou, head of the Internal Affairs Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime and Corruption, who in September 2020 repeatedly struck and broke the locked glass door of a cafe to allow security officials in civilian clothing to apprehend individuals who had supposedly participated in protests. Instead, the regime promoted Karpiankou in November 2020 to deputy minister of internal affairs.

There were reports that authorities accessed, collected, or used private communications or personal data arbitrarily or unlawfully or without appropriate legal authority. For example, after the 2020 presidential election and during the year, security officials occasionally threatened detained individuals with violence or arrest if they did not unlock their cell phones for review. Officials also threatened individuals at detention facilities with harsher sentences if they did not unlock their cell phones or laptops that had been confiscated. Increasingly during the year, security officials reportedly treated more harshly individuals with photographs or social media accounts that officials regarded as pro-opposition or that showed security forces committing abuses.

While the law prohibits authorities from intercepting telephone and other communications without a prosecutor’s order, authorities routinely monitored residences, telephones, and computers. Nearly all opposition political figures and many prominent members of civil society groups claimed that authorities monitored their conversations and activities. The government continued to collect and obtain personally identifiable information on independent journalists and democratic activists during raids and by confiscating computer equipment.

The law allows the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, special security services, financial intelligence personnel, and certain border guard detachments to use wiretaps. Wiretaps require the permission of a prosecutor, but the lack of prosecutorial independence rendered this requirement meaningless.

The Ministry of Communications has authority to terminate the telephone service of persons who violate telephone contracts, which prohibit the use of telephone services for purposes contrary to state interests and public order.

According to the 2021 Freedom on the Net Report published by Freedom House, internet freedom declined dramatically following the 2020 presidential election with repression against online journalists, activists, and internet users. The government employed systematic, sophisticated surveillance techniques to monitor its citizens and control online communications at its discretion and without independent authorization or oversight. After the 2020 election, security officials increased efforts to monitor and infiltrate encrypted messenger chat groups. In May a Ministry of Internal Affairs employee testified he had received screen shots of posts from an undisclosed member of a chat group on the online messaging platform Telegram that reportedly implicated cultural manager and art director Mia Mitkevich. Based on that she was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.

Since 2010 the government utilized the Russian-developed System of Operative Investigative Measures, which provides authorities with direct, automated access to communications data from landline telephone networks, mobile service providers, and internet service providers. The government also blocked and filtered websites and social media platforms (see section 2.a., Internet Freedom). The country employed a centralized system of video monitoring cameras. Authorities sought surveillance and hacking tools from several countries and developed domestic capacity, including the company Synesis, that links closed-circuit television cameras in Belarus and other Commonwealth of Independent States countries. In December 2020 the EU sanctioned Synesis for providing “Belarusian authorities with a surveillance platform…making the company responsible for the repression of civil society and democratic opposition by the state apparatus.”

State television reportedly obtained state surveillance footage and wiretap transcripts from state security services that it used to produce progovernment documentaries and coverage.

On August 13, police raided Uber and Yandex offices in Minsk, leading to concerns the regime sought location data to identify individuals who had taken part in demonstrations. According to independent media outlets, authorities also utilized a Chinese facial recognition system to identify individuals. According to activists, authorities maintained informant networks at state enterprises after the 2020 presidential election to identify which workers intended to strike or were agitating for political change. “Ideology” officers were reportedly in charge of maintaining informant networks at state enterprises.

Family members were reportedly punished for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives (see section 1.e.).

Authorities temporarily removed or threatened to remove children from the custody of their parents to punish the parents for protesting or political activism.

Belgium

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and legal code prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Belize

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, but there were reports that the government sometimes failed to respect these prohibitions (see section 1.e.).

Benin

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.

Bhutan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions; however, citizens seeking to marry noncitizens require government permission.

Bolivia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Botswana

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were reports the DISS had developed capabilities for online surveillance. In a March media report, the main opposition party accused DISS of using spyware technology to eavesdrop on opposition politicians and union leaders. The Committee to Protect Journalists accused the Botswana Police Service (BPS) of using digital forensic equipment to reveal journalists’ communications and sources in previous years. The BPS also used online surveillance of social media as part of COVID-19 state of emergency measures.

Brazil

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the law and constitution prohibit warrantless searches, NGOs reported that police occasionally conducted searches without warrants. Human rights groups, other NGOs, and media reported incidents of excessive police searches in poor neighborhoods. During these operations police stopped and questioned persons and searched cars and residences without warrants.

Brunei

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law permits government intrusion into the privacy of individuals, families, and homes. The government reportedly monitored private email, mobile telephone messaging, and internet chat-room exchanges suspected of being subversive or propagating religious extremism. An informant system was part of the government’s internal security apparatus for monitoring suspected dissidents, religious minorities, or those accused of crimes. Persons who published comments on social media critical of government policy, both on public blogs and personal sites such as Facebook, reported that authorities monitored their comments. In some cases, persons were told by friends or colleagues in the government they were being monitored; in other cases, it appeared critical comments were brought to the attention of authorities by private complainants.

Longstanding sharia law and the SPC permit enforcement of khalwat, a prohibition on the close proximity of a Muslim and a member of the opposite sex other than a spouse or close relative. Non-Muslims may be arrested for violating khalwat if the other accused party is Muslim. Not all suspects accused of violating khalwat were formally arrested; some individuals received informal warnings.

Bulgaria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions; however, there were reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. In September a special National Assembly committee found that authorities ordered the wiretapping and surveillance of at least 934 persons, including politicians, magistrates, and journalists, during the 2020 antigovernment protests. In July during the committee’s inquiries, the prosecution services denied any illegal actions, admitting it had used technical methods in an ongoing coup d’etat investigation. In September the National Bureau for Control of Specialized Investigative Techniques stated its inspection identified at least two protest participants had been targets of illegal wiretapping, including a politician.

Burkina Faso

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions. In cases of national security, however, the law permits surveillance, searches, and monitoring of telephones and private correspondence without a warrant. The penal code permits wiretapping in terrorism cases, to be authorized by the president of a tribunal for a limited term. Investigative judges have the authority to authorize audio recording in private places. These investigative techniques were relatively new to the legal framework. The national intelligence service is authorized to use technology for surveillance, national security, and counterterrorism purposes.

The state of emergency, first declared by President Kabore in 2018, remained in effect in 14 provinces within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions in response to growing insecurity from extremist attacks. The state of emergency granted additional powers to the security forces to carry out searches of homes and restrict freedom of movement and assembly. The state of emergency was extended in June for an additional 12 months. Authorities in the Sahel and Est Regions also ordered a curfew due to extremist attacks.

According to international and local independent rights groups, the military employed informant systems to generate lists of suspected extremists based on anecdotal evidence. Violent extremist groups were widely reported to employ similar systems to identify civilians accused of aiding security forces; some of those identified suffered violence or death at the hands of extremists.

Burma

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law protected privacy and the security of the home, but enforcement of these rights was limited after the coup. Unannounced nighttime household checks were common. The law does not protect the privacy of correspondence or other communications. The regime regularly monitored private electronic communications through online surveillance; there were numerous reports that the regime monitored prodemocracy supporters.

On March 1, the New York Times reported that the military employed invasive dual-use surveillance, hacking, and forensic technologies to monitor and target critics and protesters. Before the coup, the military built an “electronic warfare capability” and bought surveillance technology, including cell phone-hacking tools to monitor prodemocracy activists.

In July local news outlet Frontier Myanmar reported that the regime ordered mobile phone companies to install equipment to enable them to monitor calls, text messages, and locations of selected users, flagging each time they use words such as “protest” or “revolution.” Mention of these words may trigger heavier surveillance or be used as evidence against those being watched. The regime also monitored social media use, including data from visited websites, as well as conversations in public and private chat groups. According to the magazine Frontier Myanmar, this “cybersecurity team” was based inside the police’s Special Branch, a notorious surveillance department that heavily monitored suspected dissidents in the previous era of junta rule.

Burundi

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law provide for the right to privacy and require search warrants, but authorities did not always respect these rights. The law provides for warrantless searches when security services suspect acts of terrorism, fraud, trafficking in persons, illegal possession of weapons, trafficking in or consumption of drugs, or “infractions of a sexual nature.” The law requires that security services provide advance notice of warrantless searches to prosecutorial officials but does not require approval. Human rights groups raised concerns that the breadth of exceptions to the warrant requirement and the lack of protections provided in the law created risks of abuse. They also noted that by law warrants may be issued by a prosecutorial official without reference to a judicial authority, limiting judicial oversight of the decisions of police and prosecutors.

Police, SNR agents, and Imbonerakure members – sometimes acting as mixed security committees – set up roadblocks and conducted general vehicle inspections and searches. Members of the security forces also sought bribes in many instances, either during searches or in lieu of a search. They conducted search-and-seizure operations throughout the year without judicial or other appropriate authorization. The BHRI reported that the SNR used the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency to monitor the date, duration, and location of all calls in the country. The human rights group further reported that the agency had the ability to listen in real time to a limited number of calls.

Some media outlets reported their websites and social media platforms were blocked or not accessible to the public. The official website of the independent outlet Iwacu remained inaccessible as of November and could only be accessed via a mirror site.

The BHRI reported that some police arrested and threatened family members of suspects they were unable to find for arrest. For other efforts to punish family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives (see section 1.e., Politically Motivated Reprisal Against Individuals Located Outside the County, Threats, Harassment, Surveillance, and Coercion).

Cabo Verde

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Cambodia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the law provides for the privacy of residences and correspondence and prohibits illegal searches, NGOs reported police routinely conducted searches and seizures without warrants. The government continued to leak personal correspondence and recordings of telephone calls by opposition and civil society leaders to government-aligned media. On June 24, police arrested Kak Sovanchay, a 16-year-old boy reportedly with autism, for allegedly “insulting the government” in posts he made in a private chat group on the social media app Telegram that related to his father, a jailed CNRP official. Kak was convicted and later released on probation after an appeals court suspended a portion of his sentence in November.

Cameroon

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, these rights were subject to restriction in the interests of the state, and there were credible reports police and gendarmes abused their positions by harassing citizens and conducting searches without warrants. The law permits a police officer to enter a private home during daylight hours without a warrant only if pursuing a person suspected of or seen committing a crime. Police and gendarmes often did not comply with this provision and entered private homes without a warrant. An administrative authority, including a governor or senior divisional officer, may authorize police to conduct neighborhood sweeps without warrants, and this practice occurred.

The Buea-based NGO Human Is Right reported in August that it documented several cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions by defense and security forces in Mutengene, Muea, Mile 16, Mile 14, and Molyko, in the Southwest Region, from August 18 to August 30. According to Human Is Right, security forces patrolling neighborhoods arrested persons, especially young men, and searched their homes without warrants. An anonymous witness reportedly told Human Is Right how his 24-year-old son was arrested in Molyko, despite having his national identification card, and subsequently was asked to pay 50,000 CFA francs ($91) to secure his release.

Reports suggest authorities punished family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives. In an audio recording circulated on social media platforms early on August 3, the separatist fighter alias “General No Pity,” who controlled a separatist base known as Marine Forces located in Ndop, Northwest Region, claimed that soldiers stormed his compound and arrested his “uncles, aunts, younger brothers, and sisters.” He gave authorities 48 hours to release the family members, threatening to wreak havoc if anything bad happened to them. The NGO The Center for Research and Resources Distribution to Rural and Underprivileged People (CEREDRUP) confirmed his claims in a September 4 report. According to CEREDRUP, No Pity’s brother and cousin were released on August 5, but his mother and uncle remained in government custody. In order to pressure for their release, No Pity and his fighters took up positions along the Bamenda Kumbo Highway in Ndop and Sabga Hill, completely blocking the road for weeks. As of late December, there was no official statement from the government concerning the arrests.

Canada

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

On August 6, British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner launched an investigation at the request of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) into the federal Liberal Party’s use of facial recognition technology to screen candidates to run for the party in the 2021 federal election. The technology verifies the identity of members eligible to vote in nomination meetings. Nomination meetings are normally held in person, but the party moved them online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CCLA asserted the Liberal Party’s use of such software “sends the wrong message to municipal, provincial, and federal election officials that this technology is ready for prime time.” The review was to determine whether the party complied with British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act; it was the only province that had privacy laws subjecting activities of political parties to independent oversight, including the use of identity technology and of third-party automated identification verification service providers. The outcome of the review remained pending as of November.

Central African Republic

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits home searches without a warrant during preliminary investigations, except for provisions in the law that permit searches with the defendant’s consent. Once the case is under investigation by an investigating magistrate, the presence of the defendant or witnesses is sufficient. The government did not always follow this requirement. For instance, in early January former minister Thierry Savonarole Maleyombo, also a senior executive of former president Francois Bozize’s Kwa na Kwa Party, was arrested in Bangui following a search of his home. According to his lawyer, Me Crepin Mboli Goumba, Maleyombo was arrested on suspicion of sheltering pro-Bozize armed individuals in his hotel, which was being used as a rear base. According to Mboli Goumba, authorities did not present Maleyombo a warrant.

Chad

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution provides for the right to privacy and inviolability of the home, the government did not always respect these rights. It was common practice for authorities to enter homes without judicial authorization and seize private property without due process. There were reports authorities blocked or filtered websites and social media platforms. There were also reports authorities punished family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives.

On February 28, a standoff between government forces and opposition politician and former rebel Yaya Dillo at his residence in N’Djamena resulted in several deaths. The day before, one day after Dillo presented his candidacy for president to the Supreme Court, the government sent judicial police to arrest Dillo pursuant to two charges: defamation against First Lady Hinda Deby and appropriation of three government vehicles issued during his tenure as Central African Economic and Monetary Community resident representative in the country. Dillo allegedly resisted arrest, prompting security forces to return at dawn on February 28. Dillo told Radio France International that members of the presidential guard, led by President Deby’s son Mahamat Deby, attempted forced entry, resulting in a shootout that allegedly killed five members of his family, including his mother. On March 1, Foreign Minister Amine Abba Siddick and international media asserted that Dillo fled his residence the afternoon of February 28. Following President Deby’s death on April 20, the government allowed Dillo to return to the country without further threat of arrest.

A government decree prohibits possession and use of satellite telephones. During politically sensitive times, the government routinely blocked popular messaging applications, such as WhatsApp.

Chile

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

China (Includes Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet)

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law states the “freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens are protected by law,” but authorities often did not respect the privacy of citizens. A new civil code entered into force on January 1, introducing articles on the right to privacy and personal information protection. Although the law requires warrants before officers can search premises, officials frequently ignored this requirement. The Public Security Bureau and prosecutors are authorized to issue search warrants on their own authority without judicial review. There continued to be reports of cases of forced entry by police officers.

Authorities routinely monitored telephone calls, text messages, faxes, email, instant messaging, social media apps, and other digital communications intended to remain private, particularly of political activists. Authorities also opened and censored domestic and international mail. Security services routinely monitored and entered residences and offices to gain access to computers, telephones, and fax machines. Foreign journalists leaving the country found some of their personal belongings searched. In some cases, when material deemed politically sensitive was uncovered, the journalists had to sign a statement stating they would “voluntarily” leave these documents in the country.

According to Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, a website focusing on human rights in China, Lin Xiaohua began appealing the bribery conviction of his older brother Lin Xiaonan, the former mayor of Fu’an City, Fujian Province, who in April was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison. In June 2020 Xiaohua tried to send petition letters and case files to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Supreme People’s Court, and the National Commission of Supervision-CCP Central Discipline Inspection Commission, but the post office opened all the letters then refused to deliver them. In July 2020 the Xiamen Culture and Tourism Administration confiscated the letters and files, stating they were “illegal publications.”

According to Freedom House, rapid advances in surveillance technology – including artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and intrusive surveillance apps – coupled with growing police access to user data helped facilitate the prosecution of prominent dissidents as well as ordinary users. A Carnegie Endowment report in 2019 noted the country was a major worldwide supplier of artificial-intelligence surveillance technology, such as facial recognition systems, surveillance cameras, and smart policing technology.

According to media reports, the Ministry of Public Security used tens of millions of surveillance cameras throughout the country to monitor the general public. Human rights groups stated authorities increasingly relied on the cameras and other forms of surveillance to monitor and intimidate political dissidents, religious leaders and adherents, Tibetans, and Uyghurs. These included facial recognition and “gait recognition” video surveillance, allowing police not only to monitor a situation but also to quickly identify individuals in crowds. In May the BBC reported Chinese technology companies had developed artificial intelligence, surveillance, and other technological capabilities to help police identify members of ethnic minorities, especially Uyghurs. The media sources cited public-facing websites, company documents, and programming language from firms such as Huawei, Megvii, and Hikvision related to their development of a “Uyghur alarm” that could alert police automatically. Huawei denied its products were designed to identify ethnic groups. The monitoring and disruption of telephone and internet communications were particularly widespread in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas. The government installed surveillance cameras in monasteries in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan areas outside the TAR (see Special Annex, Tibet). The law allows security agencies to cut communication networks during “major security incidents.” Government entities collected genetic data from residents in Xinjiang with unclear protections for sensitive health data.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Ministry of State Security partnered with information technology firms to operate a “mass automated voice recognition and monitoring system,” similar to ones already in use in Xinjiang and Anhui, to help solve criminal cases. According to one company involved, the system monitored Mandarin Chinese and certain minority languages, including Tibetan and Uyghur. In many cases other biometric data such as fingerprints and DNA profiles were being stored as well. This database included information obtained not just from criminals and criminal suspects but also from entire populations of migrant workers and all Uyghurs applying for passports. Some Xinjiang internment camp survivors reported that they were subjected to coerced comprehensive health screenings including blood and DNA testing upon entering the internment camps. There were also reports from former detainees that authorities forced Uyghur detainees to undergo medical examinations of thoracic and abdominal organs.

Forced relocation because of urban development continued in some locations. Protests over relocation terms or compensation were common, and authorities prosecuted some protest leaders. In rural areas, infrastructure and commercial development projects resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of persons.

Property-related disputes between citizens and government authorities sometimes turned violent. These disputes frequently stemmed from local officials’ collusion with property developers to pay little or no compensation to displaced residents, a lack of effective government oversight or media scrutiny of local officials’ involvement in property transactions, and a lack of legal remedies or other dispute resolution mechanisms for displaced residents. The problem persisted despite central government claims it had imposed stronger controls over illegal land seizures and taken steps to standardize compensation.

Government authorities also could interfere in families’ living arrangements when a family member was involved in perceived sensitive political activities.

The government at various levels and jurisdictions continued to implement two distinct types of social credit systems. The first, the corporate social credit system, is intended to track and prevent corporate malfeasance. The second, the personal social credit system, is implemented differently depending on geographic location.

Although the government’s goal was to create a unified government social credit system, there continued to be dozens of disparate social credit systems, operated distinctly at the local, provincial, and the national government levels, as well as separate “private” social credit systems operated by several technology companies. These systems collected vast amounts of data from companies and individuals in an effort to address deficiencies in “social trust,” strengthen access to financial credit instruments, and reduce corruption. These agencies often collected information on academic records, traffic violations, social media presence, friendships, adherence to birth control regulations, employment performance, consumption habits, and other topics. For example, there were reports individuals were not allowed to ride public transportation for periods of time because they allegedly had not paid for train tickets.

Industry and business experts commented that in its present state, the social credit system was not used to target companies or individuals for their political or religious beliefs, noting the country already possessed other tools outside the social credit system to target companies and individuals. The collection of vast amounts of personal data combined with the prospect of a future universal and unified social credit system, however, could allow authorities to control further the population’s behaviors.

In a separate use of social media for censorship, human rights activists reported authorities questioned them regarding their participation in human rights-related chat groups, including on WeChat and WhatsApp. Authorities monitored the groups to identify activists, which led to users’ increased self-censorship on WeChat as well as several separate arrests of chat group administrators.

The government continued to use the “double-linked household” system in Xinjiang developed through many years of use in Tibet. This system divides towns and neighborhoods into units of 10 households each, with the households in each unit instructed to watch over each other and report on “security issues” and poverty problems to the government, thus turning average citizens into informers. In Xinjiang the government also continued to require Uyghur families to accept government “home stays,” in which officials or volunteers forcibly lived in Uyghurs’ homes and monitored families’ observance of religion for signs of “extremism.” Those who exhibited behaviors the government considered to be signs of “extremism,” such as praying, possessing religious texts, or abstaining from alcohol or tobacco, could be detained in “re-education camps.”

The government restricted the right to have children (see section 6, Women).

Colombia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, but there were allegations the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Government authorities generally need a judicial order to intercept mail or email or to monitor telephone conversations, including in prisons. Government intelligence agencies investigating terrorist organizations sometimes monitored telephone conversations without judicial authorization; the law bars evidence obtained in this manner from being used in court.

NGOs continued to accuse domestic intelligence or security entities of spying on lawyers and human rights defenders.

The Attorney General’s Office reported that as of July 31, there were no active criminal investigations underway in connection with illegal communications monitoring. The Inspector General’s Office reported that as of August 5, there were 40 disciplinary investigations against 38 state agents in connection with illegal surveillance and illegal monitoring of communications.

Comoros

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.

Costa Rica

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Cote d’Ivoire

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government did not always respect these prohibitions. The law requires warrants for security personnel to conduct searches, the prosecutor’s agreement to retain any evidence seized in a search, and the presence of witnesses in a search, which may take place at any time.

Crimea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

See the Country Reports on Human Rights for Russia for a description of the relevant Russian laws and procedures that the Russian government applied and enforced in occupied Crimea.

Occupation authorities and others engaged in electronic surveillance, entered residences and other premises without warrants, and harassed relatives and neighbors of perceived opposition figures.

Occupation authorities routinely conducted raids on homes to intimidate the local population, particularly Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and members of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ostensibly on the grounds of searching for weapons, drugs, or “extremist literature.” According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, occupation authorities conducted 32 raids between January and June; 13 were in the households of Crimean Tatars.

Human rights groups reported that Russian authorities exercised widespread authority to tap telephones and read electronic communications and had established a network of informants to report on suspicious activities. Occupation authorities reportedly encouraged state employees to inform on their colleagues who might oppose the occupation. According to human rights activists, eavesdropping and visits by security personnel created an environment in which persons were afraid to express any opinion contrary to the occupation authorities, even in private.

Occupation authorities regularly used recorded audio of discussions regarding religion and politics, obtained through illegal wiretapping of private homes and testimonies from unidentified witnesses, as evidence in court. For example, according to the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, on September 27, prosecutors in a hearing involving five Crimean Tatar activists charged with allegedly organizing the activities of a “terrorist” organization presented as evidence illegal wiretaps of purported conversations between the defendants and a secret witness. The five men were arrested in 2019 by occupation authorities during mass raids on Crimean Tatar homes in and around Simferopol. The prosecution’s purported “expert” witnesses claimed the recordings, which human rights groups characterized as innocuous discussions of politics and religion, were evidence of terrorist activity. The defense questioned whether the recordings had been edited. On July 6, in a separate case involving five other Crimean Tatar activists detained in the same 2019 raids on terrorism-related charges, prosecutors reportedly introduced testimony to the court from an unidentified witness. According to the accused men’s lawyers, the unidentified witness was an FSB agent who had provided similar testimony in several other cases. The lawyers claimed the court rejected their petition to reveal the identity of the witness. As of September the men were being held at a detention facility in Rostov-on-Don in Russia as the trial proceeded.

Croatia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person:

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Cuba

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution provides for the protection of citizens’ privacy rights in their homes and correspondence, and the law requires police to have a warrant signed by a prosecutor or magistrate before entering or conducting a search. Officials, however, did not respect these protections. Reportedly, government officials routinely and systematically monitored correspondence and communications between citizens, tracked their movements, and entered homes without legal authority and with impunity.

Security forces conducted arbitrary stops and searches, especially in urban areas and at government-controlled checkpoints at the entrances to provinces and municipalities. Authorities used dubious pretenses to enter residences where they knew activists were meeting, such as “random” inspections of utilities, for epidemiological reasons, or spurious reports of a disturbance. Authorities also used seemingly legitimate reasons, often health related, such as fumigating homes as part of an antimosquito campaign or door-to-door COVID-19 checks, as a pretext for illegal home searches.

On May 2, security officers taunted and threatened human rights activist and UNPACU member Orestes Varona Medina in what observers said was an unsuccessful effort to provoke a confrontation. The next morning, after he received a summons to go to the Minas police station, several policemen raided his house while he was with his wife and young children, arrested him, carried him out by his hands and feet, and beat him. On May 8, he was sentenced for “propagating an epidemic” and contempt and sentenced to 10 months in prison.

The Ministry of Interior employed a system of informants and neighborhood groups, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, to monitor government opponents and report on their activities. Agents from the ministry’s General Directorate for State Security frequently subjected foreign journalists, visiting foreign officials, diplomats, academics, and businesspersons to surveillance, including electronic surveillance.

Family members of government employees who left international work missions or similar activities (such as medical missions, athletic competitions, and research presentations) without official permission at times faced government harassment or loss of employment, access to education, and other public benefits. Family members of human rights defenders, including their minor children, reportedly suffered reprisals related to the activities of their relatives. These reprisals included reduction of salary, termination of employment, denial of acceptance into university, expulsion from university, and other forms of harassment.

Arbitrary government surveillance of internet activity was pervasive and frequently resulted in criminal cases and reprisals for persons exercising their human rights. Internet users had to identify themselves and agree they would not use the internet for anything “that could be considered…damaging or harmful to public security.” User software developed by state universities gave the government access to users’ personal data and communications.

Cyprus

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law and constitution prohibit such actions, but there was one report that the government did not fully respect these prohibitions.

In December 2020, then minister of justice Emily Yiolitis filed a complaint with the chief of police that unknown persons had created a fake Twitter account using her name and picture. In December 2020 police, using a court-issued search warrant, confiscated and searched electronic devices from the home of activist Niki Zarou on suspicion that she created the parody Twitter account. On January 29, the Supreme Court ruled the lower court had exceeded its authority and cancelled the warrant. Zarou filed a civil lawsuit in March asserting that the attorney general and Yiolitis violated her constitutional rights.

Czech Republic

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, the SSF routinely ignored these provisions. The SSF harassed and robbed civilians, entered and searched homes and vehicles without warrants, and looted homes, businesses, and schools. Family members were often punished for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives.

Denmark

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were isolated reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The law allows the government to collect the personal data of airline passengers. The DIHR criticized the government for postponing the revision of its logging rules despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the existing systematic collection of data is in violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.

Djibouti

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law prohibit such actions, the government did not respect these prohibitions. The law requires authorities to obtain a warrant before conducting searches on private property, but the government did not always respect the law. Government critics claimed the government monitored their communications and kept their homes under surveillance.

There were reports the government punished family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives.

On January 16, four elders from Tadjourah were arrested due to their family ties to members of an armed group that allegedly attacked a gendarmerie squad in Tadjourah, resulting in one death. The Gendarmerie released three of the elders a week later and the fourth in November.

On August 26, police arrested two relatives of members of an armed rebel group that allegedly carried out an attack at Lac Assal. They remained in custody as of December.

Dominica

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Dominican Republic

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary entry into a private residence, except when police are in hot pursuit of a suspect, a suspect is caught in the act of committing a crime, or police suspect a life is in danger. The law provides that all other entries into a private residence require an arrest or search warrant issued by a judge. Despite these limits on government authority, police conducted illegal searches and seizures, including many raids without warrants on private residences in poor neighborhoods.

Ecuador

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Egypt

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution provides for the privacy of the home, correspondence, telephone calls, and other means of communication. Nevertheless, there were reports that security agencies placed political activists, journalists, foreigners, and writers under surveillance; monitored their private communications; screened their correspondence, including email and social media accounts; examined their bank records; searched their persons and homes without judicial authorization; and confiscated personal property in an extrajudicial manner. Ahead of planned protests or demonstrations, there were reports police stopped young persons in public places and searched their mobile phones for evidence of involvement in political activities deemed antigovernment in nature.

The constitution protects the right to privacy, including on the internet. The constitution provides for the confidentiality and “inviolability” of postal, telegraphic, and electronic correspondence; telephone calls; and other means of communication. They may not be confiscated, revealed, or monitored except with a judicial order, only for a definite period, and only in cases defined by law. The law allows the president to issue written or oral directives to monitor and intercept all forms of communication and correspondence, impose censorship prior to publication, and confiscate publications.

Surveillance was a significant concern for internet users. The constitution states that private communications “may only be confiscated, examined, or monitored by causal judicial order, for a limited period of time, and in cases specified by the law.” Judicial warrants are required for authorities to enter, search, or monitor private property such as homes. During a state of emergency, warrantless searches are allowed provided the Public Prosecution is notified within 24 hours, and police may detain suspects for up to seven days before handing them over to the prosecution. The government’s surveillance operations lacked transparency, potentially violating the constitution’s privacy protections. There were credible reports the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority, including cyberattacks to gain access to devices and accounts belonging to critics of the government.

On February 5, the government released film director and screenwriter Moamen Hassan from detention pending trial on allegations of using social media for the purpose of “promoting a terrorist act.” Local media reported that on January 25, security forces arrested Hassan after stopping his taxi in the vicinity of Tahrir Square, searching his mobile phone, and alleging he had sent suspicious texts containing inappropriate political comments regarding the government. Hassan reportedly appeared before the State Security Prosecution on January 31, and a court ordered his release on February 4.

On August 9, a local human rights organization claimed the Public Prosecution’s Communication, Guidance, and Social Media Department, established in 2019 to monitor the internet for crimes, facilitated mass surveillance without due process of law.

El Salvador

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the state intelligence service tracked journalists or collected information regarding their private lives.

In many neighborhoods gangs and other armed groups targeted certain persons and interfered with privacy, family, and home life. Efforts by authorities to remedy these situations were generally ineffective.

Equatorial Guinea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government often did not respect these prohibitions. Search warrants are required unless a crime is in progress or for reasons of national security. Nevertheless, security force members reportedly entered homes without required warrants and arrested alleged criminals, foreign nationals, and others; they confiscated property and demanded bribes with impunity. Military and police personnel committed many break-ins.

Authorities reportedly monitored opposition members, NGOs, journalists, and foreign diplomats, including through internet and telephone surveillance. Members of civil society and opposition parties reported both covert and overt surveillance by security services.

Eritrea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, but the government did not respect these rights.

Many citizens believed the government monitored cell phones. Authorities required permits to use SIM cards.

The government used an extensive informer system to gather information.

Without notice, authorities reportedly entered homes and threatened individuals without explanation. Security forces reportedly detained and interrogated the parents, spouses, or siblings of individuals who evaded national service or fled the country.

Ruling party administration offices and their associated local militia units, composed of persons who had finished their national service but were still required to assist with security matters, reportedly checked homes or whole neighborhoods to confirm residents’ attendance at national service projects.

Estonia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Eswatini

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions except “in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning, use of mineral resources, and development of land in the public benefit.” The law requires police to obtain a warrant from a magistrate before searching homes or other premises, but officers with the rank of subinspector or higher have authority to conduct a search without a warrant if they believe delay might cause evidence to be lost. There were reports of unlawful interference by the government. In June, July, and October the government disrupted internet services and social media platforms (see section 2.a., internet freedom). After the unrest and looting in late June there were widespread reports of security forces entering homes and demanding receipts for any expensive items such as mattresses or televisions. In August several families in Nhlangano alleged that their homes were entered without judicial or appropriate authorization during drug raids.

Ethiopia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally requires authorities to obtain court-issued search warrants prior to searching private property, although the government did not always enforce this, especially under the state of emergency imposed in November. The law also recognizes exceptions for “hot pursuit” cases in which a suspect enters premises or disposes of items that are the subject of an offense committed on the premises. This legal exception also applies when police have reasonable suspicion that evidence of a crime punishable if convicted by more than three years’ imprisonment is concealed on or in the property and a delay in obtaining a search warrant could allow for the evidence to be removed. Freedom House reported the government used location tracking and other technical means to surveil online and telephone communications. In addition, the government blocked or filtered websites for political reasons, and there was reportedly no mechanism to appeal website blocking.

Fiji

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, but the POA permits military personnel to search persons and premises without a warrant from a court and to take photographs, fingerprints, and measurements of any person. Police and military officers also may enter private premises to break up any meeting considered unlawful.

Finland

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions. In September the Office of the Deputy Data Protection Ombudsman reprimanded the Police Board over the use of facial recognition software by the National Bureau for Investigation’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit. The ombudsman’s report stated that the use of the facial recognition program Clearview AI did not comply with data security and data protection legislation. In response the National Bureau for Investigation said it would stop using the application.

France

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports of government failure to respect these prohibitions.

The government continued implementing amendments to a 2017 law on Internal Security and Counterterrorism (SILT) that was passed following the 2015 terrorist attacks. SILT codifies certain measures of the 2015-17 state of emergency, including search and seizures, restricting and monitoring movements of certain individuals, and closing religious sites suspected of promoting radical Islam. SILT allows specialized intelligence agencies to conduct real-time surveillance on both networks and individuals regarding a person identified as posing a terrorist threat without approval from a judge. Following passage of the amendments, the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court that ensures that the French administration operates in compliance with the law and that is advisor to both the government and the Supreme Administrative Court, issued three implementing decrees designating the agencies that may engage in such surveillance, including the agencies’ use of devices to establish geolocation.

To prevent acts of terrorism, SILT permits authorities to restrict and monitor the movement of individuals, conduct administrative searches and seizures, close religious institutions for disseminating violent extremist ideas, implement enhanced security measures at public events, and expand identity checks near the country’s borders. The core provisions of SILT were to expire at the end of 2020 unless renewed by parliament. In December 2020 parliament extended SILT until July.

In a July 30 decision, the Constitutional Council approved the Counterterrorism and Intelligence bill that parliament adopted July 22, declaring many “controversial” provisions constitutional. The bill aimed to make permanent some provisions of the 2017 SILT law that were set to expire July 31, including a “judicial measure for the prevention of terrorist recidivism and reintegration” applicable to the perpetrators of terrorist offenses. The council, however, struck down the two-year restriction of freedom of movement for certain convicted prisoners following release from prison, reducing the restriction to one year. According to council officials, the decision intended to reconcile “prevention of breaches of public order” with “the freedom to come and go (and) the right to respect for private and family life.”

Gabon

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law prohibit such actions, the government did not always respect these prohibitions. As part of criminal investigations, police requested and easily obtained search warrants from judges, sometimes after the fact. Security forces conducted warrantless searches for irregular immigrants and criminal suspects. Authorities reportedly monitored private telephone conversations, personal mail, and the movement of citizens.

Gambia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect those prohibitions.

Georgia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions without court approval or legal necessity and prohibit police from searching a residence or conducting nonconsensual electronic surveillance or monitoring operations without a warrant. NGOs, media, and others asserted the government did not respect these prohibitions. For example, there were widespread reports that the government monitored the political opposition. Civil society, journalists, and the international community raised concerns regarding the State Security Service’s secret surveillance system and its lack of political neutrality and weak oversight.

On August 1, Nika Gvaramia, director general of the pro-opposition channel Mtavari Arkhi TV, accused the State Security Service in a broadcast of spying on opposition politicians, government officials, NGOs, journalists, foreign diplomats, clergy, and business leaders. During the segment Gvaramia read aloud what he claimed to be transcripts of documents reportedly obtained from the State Security Service that detailed illegally recorded telephone and face-to-face conversations. According to the recordings, the State Security Service conducted illegal surveillance relating to sexual orientation, personal relationships, and sexual partners. Some journalists and NGOs publicly or privately confirmed the authenticity of the private conversations in the transcripts read on the show. Ruling Georgian Dream leadership dismissed these reports as fabricated.

In response to the August 1 broadcast, nine NGOs issued a statement on August 2 that said in part, “The State Security Service has become a firmly politicized institution protecting the interests of influential political actors and trying to preserve political power of a specific group by means of surveillance, threats, and blackmail.”

On August 3, the Public Defender’s Office called for an investigation into and accountability for the alleged illegal wiretapping. She also called on parliament to exercise existing oversight mechanisms and strengthen legislative oversight.

On September 13, an individual claiming to have worked at the State Security Service released thousands of files containing private information and conversations allegedly gathered through surveillance of NGOs, journalists, foreign diplomats, and clergy. The Prosecutor’s Office announced an investigation on September 14. Officials including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri, and State Security Service head Grigol Liluashvili continued to deny the alleged wiretapping occurred. On September 19, the Public Defender’s Council of Religions and Tolerance called for a full investigation of the surveillance, stating “released materials can only indicate that the Government, through the Security Service, committed the gravest crimes against its people, its own citizens, all religious associations, civil society, constitution, democratic and secular structure of the State.”

Germany

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, but there were assertions the government failed in some cases to respect these prohibitions.

The federal and state offices for the protection of the constitution (OPCs) continued to monitor political groups deemed to be potentially undermining the constitution. These include left-wing extremist groups inside the Left party and right-wing extremist groups inside the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, both of which have seats in the Bundestag, as well as the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party (NPD). Monitoring requires the approval of state or federal interior ministries and is subject to review by state or federal parliamentary intelligence committees.

All OPC activities may be contested in court, including the Federal Constitutional Court. Following a 2014 Constitutional Court ruling, the government stated the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (FOPC) could no longer monitor Bundestag members.

The Bavaria OPC during the year monitored the NPD; Der Fluegel (“The Wing,” a loose network of far-right extremist AfD party members within the AfD); the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative (“Young Alternative”); as well as the Der Dritte Weg (“The Third Way”), an extremist party that was mainly active in opposing public COVID-19 measures.

The Baden-Wuerttemberg OPC monitored Querdenken 711 (“Lateral Thinking 711”), a movement directed against state and federal COVID-19 restrictions, due to its extremist views. The state’s anti-Semitism commissioner repeatedly warned of Querdenken 711’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and views.

On January 26, the Saxony-Anhalt OPC announced it would monitor the Saxony-Anhalt chapter of the AfD due to the party’s attacks on human dignity, its rejection of constitutional principles, and its hostility to democracy. In response the AfD moved for an injunction. On April 24, Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Ministry determined the state’s OPC would refrain from monitoring the party until a verdict had been reached. As of August proceedings were ongoing.

In early March media reported that the FOPC had decided to surveil the AfD national party organization but not AfD elected officials or candidates. The FOPC reportedly took this step in light of AfD infringements upon human dignity and democratic principles and the influence of “The Wing,” which supposedly was officially dissolved in 2019, but members of the group continued to convene. Anticipating this, the AfD filed suit in January in the Cologne Administrative Court to block FOPC surveillance. Shortly after the March media reports, the court issued an injunction preventing the FOPC from commenting on whether it had decided to surveil the AfD until the court had ruled on the January suit. In August the court indicated it would not issue a ruling until early 2022, to avoid influencing voters’ decisions in the September 26 elections.

On May 12, the Thuringia OPC upgraded its classification of the Thuringian chapter of the AfD from a suspected case to a proven extremist case. According to the OPC, there are clear “efforts against the free democratic basic order” within the Thuringian AfD chapter.

In June 2020 the Brandenburg OPC announced it would monitor the state chapter of the AfD as a suspected case of right-wing extremism. The Brandenburg state chapter of the AfD challenged the decision before the State Constitutional Court, which ruled against the AfD on March 19.

In June the Bavarian government amended its police powers law to give police the power to screen visitors at major events using “reliability tests” conducted with visitors’ personal data obtained from “public and nonpublic entities.” The law entered into force July 31 and was immediately challenged by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), Greens, and Free Democratic Party before the Bavarian Constitutional Court. As of October the case was still pending (for the “NSU 2.0” case, see section 3, Political Parties and Participation).

In August the Hamburg Administrative Court ruled that Hamburg’s OPC may no longer state that two AfD state parliament staffers were identitarians, a right-wing extremist movement. The AfD caucus in the state parliament had sued the OPC for mentioning the staffers’ supposed connection in its 2020 public report. The court stated that, although the staffers had attended two identitarian events, such attendance alone was not proof of their membership in the group. Under the ruling, the Hamburg OPC must delete the allegation from its public 2020 report and issue a public correction. The OPC pledged to continue monitoring The Wing’s activities in Hamburg.

Human Rights Watch reported that on June 10, the parliament had passed amendments to a law that allows OPCs to use spyware and bypass encryption. Human Rights Watch raised strong privacy concerns regarding the change, noting that the law allows interception of communications by “persons against whom no suspicion of a crime has yet been established and therefore no criminal procedure can yet be ordered.” The government argued the provisions were needed to keep up with technological changes.

Ghana

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Greece

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Grenada

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Guatemala

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions, but there were credible reports of harassment of the families of officials. A prosecutor reported that in October, after her office removed her from a high-profile corruption case, unknown individuals in unmarked cars photographed her mother and sister outside their houses on several occasions.

Guinea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but police reportedly ignored legal procedures in the pursuit of criminal suspects, including when it served their personal interests. Authorities sometimes removed persons from their homes without legal authorization, stole their personal belongings, and demanded payment for the release of their belongings.

The government continued to arrest or punish family members for alleged offenses committed by relatives.

Guinea-Bissau

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government did not always respect these prohibitions. Police routinely ignored privacy rights and protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Guyana

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Haiti

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. President Moise signed an executive order in 2020 ordering the creation of a National Intelligence Agency with nearly unlimited jurisdiction and agent anonymity, but it was unclear if the executive order was implemented.

Honduras

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the law generally prohibits such actions, a legal exception allows government authorities to enter a private residence to prevent a crime or in case of another emergency. There were credible complaints that police occasionally failed to obtain the required authorization before entering private homes. As of September CONADEH had received 33 complaints.

Hong Kong

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, but there were multiple reports the SAR government failed to respect these prohibitions, including credible reports that PRC central government security services and the Beijing-mandated Office for Safeguarding National Security monitored prodemocracy and human rights activists and journalists in the SAR. Some of those arrested under the NSL, including some of the 55 individuals arrested in January in connection with the July 2020 unofficial pan-democratic primary election, were required to forfeit personal mobile and computer devices, including before they were formally charged. Police made repeated requests to technology companies for access to individuals’ private correspondence. SAR authorities froze bank accounts of former lawmakers, civil society groups, and other political targets.

Technology companies, activists, and private citizens increasingly raised concerns about the right to privacy and protection of data. The antidoxing amendment passed in October allows the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to seize and access any electronic devices on the premises without a warrant if they suspect a doxing-related offense has been committed or may be committed. In June the Executive Council approved a proposal to mandate real name registration for subscriber identity module cards and to allow authorities to access telecommunications data without a warrant.

Hungary

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were reports that the government used advanced spyware (Pegasus) to surveil or compromise the privacy of journalists, lawyers, businesspersons, and politicians.

On July 18, an international team of investigative journalists including a domestic media outlet reported that spyware manufactured by a foreign cybersecurity firm, NSO Group (Pegasus), was used to surveil investigative journalists and media owners as well as lawyers and politicians. Forensic investigations of telephones that appeared on a leaked list of 300 local numbers determined that some of them had been compromised by the spyware, including those of investigative journalists. The government stated that national security services had not engaged in “illegal surveillance” since the government’s election in 2010. In November a senior Fidesz member of parliament and chair of parliament’s defense and law enforcement committee stated the Ministry of Interior had purchased Pegasus and that in every case, its use had been sanctioned by the Ministry of Justice or the courts. An opposition Jobbik member of parliament and chair of parliament’s National Security Committee confirmed this.

There is no requirement for the Counterterrorism Center, or in certain cases the national intelligence services, to obtain prior judicial authorization for surveillance in national security cases that involve terrorism. In such cases the justice minister may permit covert intelligence action for 90 days, with a possibility of extension. Such intelligence collection may involve secret house searches, surveillance with recording devices, opening letters and parcels, and checking and recording electronic or computerized communications without the consent of the persons under investigation. A decision to approve a covert intelligence action is not subject to appeal.

The country’s criminal procedure code establishes a regime for covert policing and intelligence gathering. The law gives prosecutors unrestricted access to information obtained through covert investigations.

Legal experts noted that the country’s national security laws made it relatively easy for the justice minister to authorize surveillance activities against private citizens not suspected of criminal activity. The ECHR noted in a 2016 ruling that under the loose regulations on secret information gathering, virtually anyone could be put under surveillance, with the order “taking place entirely within the realm of the executive” and without “an assessment of strict necessity or effective remedial measures.” In January the government replied to the decision, stating that the “examination of the requirements stemming from the judgment in terms of legislative amendments, which is currently underway, is expected to take some time.” There was no further action.

Local media reported that as of July 19, the Ministry of Justice had approved 928 surveillance permits, approximately five approvals per day. Reaching nearly 75 percent of the 1,285 permits issued in all of 2020, the pace of surveillance permits indicated a significant year-on-year increase in the approval of surveillance permits.

Iceland

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Immigration law allows authorities to conduct house searches without a prior court order when there is a significant risk that delay would jeopardize an investigation of immigration fraud. Immigration law also allows authorities to request DNA tests without court supervision in cases of suspected immigration fraud.

India

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

While the constitution does not contain an explicit right to privacy, the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that privacy is a “fundamental right.”

The law, with some exceptions, prohibits arbitrary interference. The government generally respected this provision; at times authorities infringed upon the privacy rights of citizens. The law requires police to obtain warrants to conduct searches and seizures, except for cases in which such actions would cause undue delay. Police must justify warrantless searches in writing to the nearest magistrate with jurisdiction over the offense.

Both the central and state governments legally intercepted communications. A Group of Experts on Privacy convened in 2018 by the central government noted the country lacked a comprehensive consumer data-protection framework.

The UAPA also allows use of evidence obtained from intercepted communications in terrorism cases. In Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Manipur, security officials have special authorities to search and arrest without a warrant.

There were reports that government authorities accessed, collected, or used private communication arbitrarily or unlawfully or without appropriate legal authority and developed practices that allow for the arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, including the use of technology to arbitrarily or unlawfully surveil or interfere with the privacy of individuals.

Privacy concerns were raised by The Wire, an online media outlet, that published a series of stories alleging dozens of journalists were potential targets for surveillance by Pegasus malware developed by NSO Group Technologies. The Wire cited forensic analysis conducted by Amnesty International on phone numbers that showed signs of either attempted or successful infiltration. In October the Supreme Court ordered an independent probe on these allegations.

The government denied conducting surveillance activities that violated laws or formally established procedures. Laws permit the government to intercept calls to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, for public order, or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offense.

Indonesia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law requires judicial warrants for searches except in cases involving subversion, economic crimes, and corruption. Security forces generally respected these requirements. The law also provides for searches without warrants when circumstances are “urgent and compelling.” Police throughout the country occasionally took actions without proper authority or violated individuals’ privacy.

NGOs claimed security officials occasionally conducted warrantless surveillance on individuals and their residences and monitored telephone calls.

The government developed Peduli Lindungi (Care Protect), a smartphone application used to track COVID-19 cases. Government regulations sought to stop the spread of the virus by requiring individuals entering public spaces like malls to check in using the application. The application also stores information on individuals’ vaccination status. NGOs expressed concerns about what information was gathered by the application and how this data was stored and used by the government.

On August 16, protesters gathered in Yahukimo Regency, Papua Province, to protest the arrest of Victor Yeimo (see section 1.e.) and the extension and revision of special autonomy for Papua. NGOs reported that police opened fire on the demonstration and arrested 48 protesters. One protester, Ferianus Asso, was allegedly hit by police gunfire in the abdomen; he was treated at home until August 20, when he was taken to a local hospital. On August 22, Asso died from complications related to his injuries. As of November 24, there were no reports that the government investigated the incident.

Iran

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution states that “reputation, life, property, [and] dwelling[s]” are protected from trespass, except as “provided by law.” The government routinely infringed on this right. Security forces monitored the social activities of citizens; entered homes, offices, and places of worship; monitored telephone conversations and internet communications; and opened mail without court authorization. The government also routinely intimidated activists and government critics by detaining their family members as a form of reprisal.

Two brothers of Navid Afkari, executed in 2020 for the murder of a law enforcement officer during antigovernment protests in 2018 in Shiraz, remained in Adelabad Prison without access to their families or medical care. Vahid Afkari was arrested with his brother Navid and received a 25-year prison sentence for aiding him. In December 2020 according to HRANA, authorities arrested Afkari’s father and another brother, Habib, as they sought to clear a site in Fars Province to install a gravestone memorializing Navid Afkari’s death. Habib Afkari was sentenced to 27 years and three months in prison plus 74 lashes, and Vahid Afkari received a new sentence of 54 years and six months plus 74 lashes, both on vague “national security” charges. HRANA reported authorities tortured the brothers during interrogations and Vahid attempted suicide twice following “severe torture.” On August 23, HRANA reported that the Supreme Court rejected Vahid Afkari’s request for a retrial.

On April 28, according to Iran International, security forces assaulted and arrested Manouchehr Bakhtiari for a third time, on charges related to activism on behalf of his son, Pouya, killed by security forces in the city of Karaj during November 2019 demonstrations. They beat family members present at the time of the arrest, including two children. Authorities threw Bakhtiari in the trunk of their vehicle and took him to an undisclosed location. A revolutionary court subsequently sentenced him to six years in prison, two and one-half years in “internal exile,” and a two-year ban on leaving the country. The government previously detained 10 other members of Pouya Bakhtiari’s family, including his 11-year-old nephew and two of his elderly grandparents, to prevent them from holding a traditional memorial service for Bakhtiari 40 days after his death.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in July 2020 authorities arrested Farangis Mazloom, the mother of imprisoned photojournalist Soheil Arabi, and in October 2020 sentenced her to 18 months in prison on charges of “meeting and plotting against the national security” and antigovernment propaganda, presumably as a result of activism on behalf of her son. An appeals court confirmed the sentence in March. Arabi had been imprisoned since 2013 on blasphemy and other expression-related charges. According to Mazloom, in October 2020 Evin Prison authorities moved her son to solitary confinement. In January IHR published a letter from Arabi in which he claimed authorities broke his arm while transferring him between prisons and forced him to witness 200 executions in the 34 days he spent in “exile” at Rajai Shahr Prison.

No comprehensive data-protection laws exist that provide legal safeguards to protect users’ data from misuse. Online activity was heavily monitored by the state despite Article 37 of the nonbinding Citizens’ Rights Charter, which states that online privacy should be respected.

Because the operation of domestic messaging applications is based inside the country, content shared on these applications is more susceptible to government control and surveillance. Lack of data-protection and privacy laws also means there are no legal instruments providing protections against the misuse of applications data by authorities.

Iraq

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were numerous reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Government forces often entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization.

Authorities reportedly detained spouses and other family members of fugitives – mostly Sunni Arabs wanted on terrorism charges – to compel the fugitives to surrender.

Ireland

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Israel, West Bank and Gaza

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected those prohibitions for Israeli citizens.

The 2003 Law of Citizenship and Entry, which was renewed annually until July because the Knesset did not extend it, prohibited Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, and Lebanese, including those who are Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents or citizens, from obtaining resident status unless the Ministry of the Interior made a special determination, usually on humanitarian grounds. The government extended the law annually due to government reports that Palestinian family reunification allowed entry to a disproportionate number of persons who were later involved in acts of terrorism. HaMoked asserted that statistics from government documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests contradicted the terrorism allegations and that the denial of residency to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza for the purposes of family reunification led to cases of family separation. In 2020 the Population and Immigration Authority received 1,354 family unification requests. As of year’s end, the Population and Immigration Authority had received 1,680 family unification requests.

HaMoked reported that, of the more than 2,000 requests filed in the previous two years, most were for West Bank Palestinians married to Israelis or East Jerusalemites. On September 14, HaMoked, ACRI, and PHRI filed a petition demanding the Ministry of Interior respect the law and process the requests. On October 6, the head of the Population and Immigration Authority, Tomer Moskowitz, stated that the Ministry of Interior was continuing to implement the prior law as if it had not expired. The government’s response on November 11 supported Shaked’s continued handling of Palestinians’ requests in accordance with the now-expired regulations, claiming that Shaked could continue to implement “interim procedures and regulations” until an amendment was passed. On November 15, the court rejected the request for an injunction by the petitioners prohibiting the handling of requests based on the expired law. As a result, on November 17, the petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court. The petitions were pending at the year’s end. Israeli authorities confirmed at the end of the year that in accordance with the government’s decision from 2008 regarding the extension of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), the minister of the interior was instructed not to approve any requests for family reunification received from Gaza. This decision was made due to Israeli security authorities’ assessment of the security threats emanating from Gaza which put the security of Israel and its citizens at risk, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

According to press reports, as of 2020 there were approximately 13,000 Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza living in Israel, including Jerusalem, on temporary stay permits because of the Citizenship and Entry law, with no legal provision that they would be able to continue living with their families. There were also cases of Palestinian spouses living in East Jerusalem without legal status. Authorities did not permit Palestinians who were abroad during the 1967 war or whose residency permits the government subsequently withdrew to reside permanently in Jerusalem. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations called on the government to repeal the law and resume processing family unification applications. The law allows for the entry of spouses of Israelis on a “staying permit” if the male spouse is age 35 or older and the female spouse is age 25 or older, for children up to age 14, and for a special permit for children ages 14-18, but they may not receive residency and have no path to citizenship. According to the government, as of July the Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) had received 774 family unification requests for the calendar year, compared with 1,354 requests received in 2020.

The government continued to renew an emergency regulation allowing Shin Bet to track mobile phones to identify individuals in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients for quarantining purposes. Beginning on March 14, following a Supreme Court ruling, Shin Bet tracking was limited only to cases where a patient did not cooperate with an epidemiological investigation. On March 30, a Knesset Committee did not vote to approve the extension of the emergency regulations. In July the law allowing Shin Bet’s tracking expired. On November 28, the government approved by emergency regulation the use of Shin Bet tracking for those carrying the Omicron variant. Despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition against the tracking on December 2, the government did not renew the regulation after its expiration on December 2.

On June 7, ACRI sent a letter to the attorney general arguing there are constitutional defects in Shin Bet’s compilation of data from all mobile phone users in Israel, which was exposed in 2020. According to ACRI, the database and its use violated the right to privacy, minimized individual freedoms, including freedom of expression, by creating a chilling effect, and the database risked being abused by Shin Bet, the prime minister, or by other forces in case of leaks. ACRI demanded the creation of legal protections to provide for external supervision to balance the country’s security needs and individual rights.

On July 20, ACRI submitted a petition to the Supreme Court demanding the cancelation of government resolutions which allowed the government to expand the Shin Bet’s role without amending the Shin Bet law. The petition stated that since 2004, the government added four roles to Shin Bet’s functions and authorities, the last of which was the tracking of mobile phones in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition was pending at the year’s end. On March 4, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel filed a freedom of information petition with the Jerusalem District Court for information regarding the police request to internet providers to provide data on police suspects and individuals visiting specific websites or internet protocol addresses to a police-controlled system. The petition was pending at the year’s end.

The law allows police access to telecommunications data, including incoming calls, location data, and online activity, when investigating crimes, based on a court order or without one in urgent cases. According to police information obtained by Privacy Israel through a freedom of information request, police filed 40,677 requests for access to such data, 16,644 of the requests were without a court order. The courts granted police access in 40,502 cases. The number of requests has risen steadily in previous years, increasing 64 percent since 2016. Approximately 20 percent of the offenses investigated were minor offenses, such as bicycle theft or traffic offenses.

Italy

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports of arbitrary or unlawful interference by the government.

Jamaica

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference, the law gives broad powers of search and seizure to security personnel. The law allows warrantless searches of a person, vehicle, ship, or boat if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. On occasion police were accused of conducting searches without warrants or reasonable suspicion.

In the areas with ZOSOs and SOEs, government security forces took biometrics from temporarily detained persons. The Office of the Public Defender and civil society organizations challenged this practice, arguing that retaining the information and failing to delete it after police released the detained person effectively criminalized persons who subsequently were not charged. Security forces detained wide swaths of the population in ZOSOs and SOEs under broad arrest authorities.

Japan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Jordan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution protects the right to privacy but allows for surveillance “by a judicial order in accordance with the provisions of the law.” The law permits the prosecutor general to order surveillance upon receiving “reliable information” that “a person or group of persons is connected to any terrorist activity.” Although the law prohibits it, individuals widely believed that security officers monitored telephone conversations and internet communication, read private correspondence, and engaged in surveillance including monitoring online comments by cataloging them by date, internet protocol (IP) address, and location without court orders.

According to Freedom House, in April the government instituted a two-day internet shutdown in specific Amman neighborhoods following the purported coup attempt linked to Prince Hamzah. Freedom House also reported virtual private networks (VPN) sometimes were inaccessible.

Some tribes continued to employ the custom of jalwa, where the relatives of a person accused of homicide are displaced to a different geographic area pending resolution between the involved families to prevent further bloodshed and revenge killings. Even though jalwa and tribal law were abolished from the legal system in 1976, security officials sporadically continued to facilitate banishment and other tribal dispute resolution customs. As of October the Ministry of Interior indicated there were 413 cases of jalwa.

Kazakhstan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit violations of privacy, but the government at times infringed on these rights.

The law provides prosecutors with extensive authority to limit citizens’ constitutional rights, in violation of internationally accepted norms. The law allows wiretapping in medium, urgent, and grave cases. The National Security Committee (KNB), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and other agencies, with the concurrence of the Prosecutor General’s Office, may infringe on the privacy of communications and financial records, as well as on the inviolability of the home. Human rights activists reported incidents of alleged surveillance, including wiretapping and recording telephone conversations, posting on social media videos of private meetings, and KNB officers visiting activists’ and their families’ homes for “unofficial” conversations regarding suspect activities.

Courts hear appeals of prosecutors’ decisions for a wiretap or surveillance but cannot issue an immediate injunction to cease an infringement.

Human rights defenders, activists, and their family members continued to report the government occasionally monitored their movements, contrary to international norms.

In July international and local media reported that government officials, journalists, activists, and businesspersons were included on the leaked list of individuals who had been monitored since 2016 using the Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO’s Pegasus software program, which the firm reportedly sold only to military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies. Two journalists named in the leak and other international human rights defenders called the monitoring an abuse of human rights. First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Dauren Abayev described the news reports as “intriguing information without any proof.”

In February activist Lukpan Akhmediyarov in Uralsk complained that police used special software to track his movements and unfairly detain him so that he could not travel to Atyrau to greet political prisoner Maks Bokayev upon Bokayev’s release from prison. According to Akhmediyarov, police used the special software to track the movement of activists and to intercept conversations and messages from the activists’ mobile phones.

Kenya

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, except “to promote public benefit,” but authorities sometimes infringed on citizens’ privacy rights. The law permits police to enter a home without a search warrant if the time required to obtain a warrant would prejudice an investigation. Although security officers generally obtained search warrants, they occasionally conducted searches without warrants during large-scale security sweeps to apprehend suspected criminals or to seize property believed stolen.

Human rights organizations reported police officers raided homes in informal settlements in Nairobi and communities in the coast region in search of suspected terrorists and weapons. The organizations documented numerous cases in which plainclothes police officers searched residences without a warrant, and household goods were confiscated when residents were unable to provide receipts of purchase on demand. Rights groups reported police in numerous locations broke into homes and businesses and extorted money from residents while enforcing measures to control the pandemic. The government continued efforts to implement the law that requires citizens to register their personal details, including biometrics, to receive a card with a unique identifier number required to access public services, widely known as a Huduma Namba card. By September the government had created 10.5 million cards, but only 7.3 million had been collected by citizens. In October the High Court declared the Huduma Namba system invalid because the government failed to conduct a data impact assessment prior to rolling out the new cards. Legal activists had challenged the Huduma Namba system on the grounds it lacked sufficient data protection safeguards.

Kiribati

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Kosovo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government, EULEX, or KFOR failed to respect these prohibitions.

Kuwait

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and the law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Cybercrime agents within the Ministry of Interior regularly monitored publicly accessible social media sites, however, and sought information regarding owners of accounts, although foreign-owned social media companies denied most requests for information.

Kyrgyzstan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

According to the law, wiretaps, home searches, mail interception, and similar acts, including in cases relating to national security, are permitted only with the approval of the prosecutor and based on a court decision. Such actions are permitted exclusively to combat crime. There were reports that the government failed to respect these restrictions, including reports of police planting evidence in cases of extremism investigations. Seven government agencies have legal authority to monitor citizens’ telephone and internet communications.

On August 31, the Ministry of Internal Affairs admitted to wiretapping political opponents, including members of parliament and activists, pursuant to a court order from January 6 through February 10 as part of the criminal investigation into riots that led to the political upheaval of October 2020. The dates of the wiretap encompassed the presidential election on January 10. Some targets of the wiretap demanded that the president dismiss the internal affairs minister and the prosecutor general for their involvement.

Laos

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally prohibits such actions, but the government continued its broad use of security law exemptions when it perceived a security threat.

The law prohibits unlawful searches and seizures but does not require a warrant in many cases. Although the law requires police to obtain search authorization from a prosecutor or a panel of judges, they did not always do so, especially in rural areas. Security laws allow the government to monitor individuals’ movements and private communications, including via mobile telephones and email without a warrant (see section 2.a.). All mobile phone users must register their subscriber identity module cards with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications by providing their personal information to the government.

The Ministry of Public Security monitored citizens’ activities through a surveillance network that included secret police. A police auxiliary program in urban and rural areas, operating under individual village chiefs and local police, shared responsibility for maintaining public order and reported “undesirable” persons to police. Members of organizations affiliated with the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP), including the Lao Women’s Union, the Lao Youth Union, and the Lao Front for National Development, also monitored citizens.

The law allows citizens to marry foreigners only with prior government approval. Authorities may annul such marriages entered without approval, with both parties subject to arrest and fines. The government normally granted such permission, but the process was lengthy and burdensome, offering officials opportunities to solicit bribes. Premarital cohabitation with foreigners is illegal, although it was rarely prosecuted.

Latvia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and the law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Lebanon

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, but there were reports that authorities interfered with the privacy of persons regarded as enemies of the government. There were reports that security services monitored private email and other digital correspondence. The law allows the interception of telephone calls with prior authorization from the prime minister at the request of the minister of interior or minister of defense.

Militias and non-Lebanese forces, such as Palestinian militant groups, operating outside the area of central government authority frequently violated citizens’ privacy rights. Various nonstate actors, such as Hizballah, used informer networks, telephone monitoring, and electronic monitoring to obtain information regarding their perceived adversaries.

Lesotho

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence, and the government generally respected these prohibitions. Although search warrants are required under normal circumstances, the law provides police with the power to stop and search persons and vehicles as well as to enter homes and other places without a warrant if the situation is life threatening or there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect a serious crime has occurred. Additionally, the law states any police officer of the rank of inspector or above may search individuals or homes without a warrant.

Liberia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Libya

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The 2011 Constitutional Declaration considers correspondence, telephone conversations, and other forms of communication inviolable unless access, collection, or use is authorized by a court order. Nonetheless, reports in the news and on social media indicated GNU-aligned groups violated these prohibitions by monitoring communications without judicial authorization, imposing roadside checks, and entering private homes.

Domestic human rights organizations continued to protest authorities’ searches of cell phones, tablets, and laptops at roadside checkpoints, airports, and border crossings. These organizations noted the practice was widespread across both western and eastern regions of the country as a means to target activists, lawyers, media professionals, bloggers, and migrants.

Invasion of privacy left citizens vulnerable to targeted attacks based on political affiliation, ideology, and identity. Extrajudicial punishment extended to targets’ family members and tribes. Armed groups arbitrarily entered, seized, or destroyed private property with impunity.

Liechtenstein

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Lithuania

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions. There were reports, however, that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

The law requires authorities to obtain a judge’s authorization before searching an individual’s premises. It prohibits indiscriminate monitoring, including of email, text messages, or other digital communications intended to remain private. Domestic human rights groups alleged that the government did not always properly enforce the law. As of September 1, the State Data Protection Inspectorate investigated 814 complaints of privacy abuses, compared with 710 complaints by mid-September 2020. Most complaints were individuals’ claims that the government had collected and disclosed their personal information, such as identity numbers, without a legal justification. Other complaints related to the right of access to data, video surveillance, and the security of data processing.

Luxembourg

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Madagascar

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, but there were reports the government failed to respect these provisions.

The newspaper LExpress reported that on July 4, police raided the home of a village chief in the southeast village of Ampanihy without authorization after a plantation owner alleged that the chief’s son was involved in a theft from his property. The raid left the son dead and two others injured. The village chief alleged police killed his son in the raid. Police officers denied the charges and claimed they were attacked by an angry mob. There were reports authorities targeted family members (see section 1.d., Arbitrary Arrest, case of Razafimahefa).

Malawi

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government did not always respect these prohibitions.

The law permits police officers of the rank of sub-inspector or higher to conduct searches without a court warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe they could not otherwise obtain something needed for an investigation without undue delay. Before conducting a search without a warrant, the officer must write a reasonable-grounds justification and give a copy to the owner or occupant of the place to be searched.

Malaysia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Laws prohibit such actions; nevertheless, authorities sometimes infringed on citizens’ privacy. Under national security laws, police may enter and search the homes of persons suspected of threatening national security without a warrant. The government monitored the internet and threatened to detain anyone sending or posting content the government deemed a threat to public order or security (see section 2.a.).

Islamic authorities may enter private premises without a warrant to apprehend Muslims suspected of engaging in offenses such as gambling, consumption of alcohol, and sexual relations outside marriage.

The government does not recognize marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims and considers children born of such unions illegitimate.

Throughout the year there were numerous instances of police confiscating the cell phones of human rights defenders brought in for questioning.

In August, NGOs reported that after activists cancelled a planned protest against the government, police went to many of the organizers’ homes and questioned them and their families.

Maldives

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits security officials from opening or reading radio messages, letters, or telegrams, or monitoring telephone conversations, except as expressly provided by law. Security forces may open the mail of private citizens and monitor telephone conversations if authorized to do so by a court during a criminal investigation. There were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions during the year.

Mali

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and statutory law prohibit unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Malta

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Marshall Islands

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Mauritania

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, although there were numerous reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. For example, authorities often entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization.

Mauritius

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, but the government did not always respect these prohibitions. There were continuing unsubstantiated claims police tapped telephones, emails, and offices of journalists and opposition politicians. Freedom House noted complaints that the law allows monitoring of private online speech and provides penalties for false, harmful, or illegal statements online (see section 2.a.). There were unsubstantiated reports that authorities used cell phone data to track persons’ locations without a judicial warrant.

Mexico

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such practices and requires search warrants. There were some complaints of illegal searches or illegal destruction of private property. By law the government collected biometric data from migrants.

According to the NGO Freedom House, “Researchers continued to document cases of journalists, human rights lawyers, activists, and political figures targeted with Pegasus spy software. After denying they existed, in 2019 the Prosecutor General’s Office provided evidence of Pegasus licensing contracts in 2016 and 2017.” In July Public Safety Secretary Rosa Isela Rodriguez revealed that the Felipe Calderon and Enrique Pena Nieto administrations signed 31 contracts for $61 million to buy Pegasus spy software. In July a joint investigation by media outlets reported a leaked Pegasus list of more than 15,000 individuals as possible targets for surveillance in 2016 and 2017. The list named at least 50 persons linked to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, politicians from every party, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, prosecutors, diplomats, judges, and academics.

Micronesia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Moldova

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence unless necessary to ensure state security, economic welfare, or public order, or to prevent crimes. Government agents often failed to respect these prohibitions.

The government did not take steps to address longstanding arbitrary wiretap and surveillance practices. The NGO Legal Resource Center of Moldova reported that judges approved almost all requests from prosecutors for wiretap authorization, indicating a lack of proper oversight. Such requests for wiretap authorization were reportedly sometimes made in attempt to incriminate political rivals or for political purposes. For example in October, Prosecutor General Alexandru Stoianoglo released intercepted telephonic communications of a former anticorruption prosecutor in an attempt to discredit the Superior Council of Prosecutors the day before their vote to request an investigation into corruption by Stoionaglo.

In July anti-organized-crime prosecutors and SIS agents placed the head of the Moldovan Martial Arts Federation and former police officer Dorin Damir, Balti city police chief Valeriu Cojocaru, and a border police officer under temporary arrest on charges of abuse of power, theft of state funds, illegal border crossing, disclosure of state secrets, and forgery of public documents. The three were former employees of the 5th Division of the National Inspectorate of Investigations under the Ministry of Interior, labelled by many human rights activists as “the political police,” which was disbanded in 2019. Damir, Cojocaru, and other officers were allegedly in charge of the illegal wiretapping and surveillance of opposition political leaders, journalists, and NGOs at the orders of fugitive Vladimir Plahotniuc. Former police chief and defense minister Alexandru Pinzari was also detained in the case. In September pictures and excerpts of communications intercepted by the 5th Division were leaked to the media, adding to evidence of the illegal practice. In September anti-organized-crime prosecutors finalized the investigations and sent the cases against Damir, Cojocaru and Pinzari to court. In an official press release, prosecutors confirmed that the 5th Division was in charge of “verifying journalists and employees of diplomatic missions, as well as vetting candidates for judge offices, acted like a state in a state, and was controlled by former PD head Vladimir Plahotniuc.” As of December Damir and Cojocaru were detained at Penitentiary No. 13 in Chisinau, while Pinzari was under house arrest.

Monaco

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Mongolia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Montenegro

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions without court approval or legal necessity and prohibit police from searching a residence or conducting undercover or monitoring operations without a warrant. The law requires the National Security Agency and police to obtain court authorization for wiretaps. Similarly, a 2018 Constitutional Court decision proclaimed that some provisions in the criminal procedure code regarding secret surveillance measures were unconstitutional and all requests must be approved by a court.

There were no official reports the government failed to respect these requirements for conducting physical and property searches. Human rights activists, such as the NGOs Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector (MANS) and Institute Alternativa, continued to claim, however, that authorities engaged in illegal wiretapping and surveillance.

On May 27, one of the ruling parties, the Democrats, published a secretly recorded conversation between Tamara Nikcevic, a journalist for the public broadcaster Radio and Television Montenegro (RTCG), and her guest before they went on the air. The Democrats then filed criminal charges against Nikcevic for allegedly abusing her official position as a public television journalist by expressing critical views about the Democrats. Several NGOs criticized the Democrats for releasing the unauthorized recording.

On February 25, the Special Police Department filed criminal charges against former National Security Agency director Dejan Perunicic and former agency agent Srdja Pavicevic for abuse of office, illegal wiretapping, and surveillance carried out from January to September 2020 on several the then opposition leaders, the Serbian Orthodox metropolitan, and two journalists critical of the former government, Petar Komnenic (TV Vijesti) and Nevenka Boskovic Cirovic (RTCG).

Morocco

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

While the constitution states an individual’s home is inviolable and that a search may take place only with a search warrant, authorities at times entered homes without judicial authorization, employed informers, and monitored, without legal process, personal movement, and private communications – including email, text messaging, or other digital communications intended to remain private.

Amnesty International and OHCHR reported in July that Sahrawi rights activist Sultana Khaya had been under de facto house arrest since November 2020. Although the government denied Khaya was under house arrest, security forces stationed at her house monitored her movements and interactions. Khaya stated that police have raided her house several times. During one of these raids in May, Khaya alleged that police officials physically assaulted her sister and mother. Amnesty International reported that Khaya and her sister said police raped them during the raid, a charge that authorities denied. Additionally, activist Babuizid Muhammed Saaed Labhi and two student activists who were staying in Khaya’s house were reportedly detained. The Regional Council on Human Rights (CRDH) in Laayoune attempted to meet with Khaya at her home on February 13 to discuss her allegations and facilitate access to medical care. Khaya declined CRDH’s assistance, citing her distrust of the authorities’ willingness to conduct an impartial investigation. According to the government, in May the Laayoune Court of Appeal opened an investigation into Khaya’s allegations of police brutality and sexual assault. There was no official investigation into these claims, which Khaya attributed to her distrust of the authorities’ willingness to conduct an impartial investigation and the government stated was a result of her unwillingness to cooperate.

In June 2020 Amnesty International published a report claiming authorities used spyware made by Israel-based company NSO Group to target journalist Omar Radi’s phone from January 2019 to January 2020. In July 2020 police arrested Radi on charges of “indecent assault with violence; rape; the receipt of foreign funds for the purpose of undermining state’s domestic security; and initiation of contacts with agents of foreign countries to harm the diplomatic situation of the country.” According to HRW, the rape and indecent assault charges against Radi were based on a complaint filed in July 2020 by one of Radi’s colleagues. After Radi refused in March to have his trial held in a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic, his trial was postponed to May 18. In April 2021 Radi carried out a 22-day hunger strike to protest his lengthy pretrial detention. He ended the strike on May 1. On May 5, a judge denied Radi’s request for provisional release. Radi’s trial was later postponed until June 1 by the criminal chamber of the Casablanca Court of Appeal due to his poor health. Media outlets reported Radi was weakened to the point of not being able to answer the questions. The trial was postponed three times in June due to an accusation by his attorneys of procedural irregularities and further delayed due to Radi’s poor health. On July 19, Radi was found guilty on charges of espionage and sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison.

According to Amnesty International, academic Maati Monjib was additionally subjected to government surveillance through the NSO Group spyware technology.

Mozambique

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence; however, there were reports the government at times failed to respect the privacy of personal communications, particularly those of civil society activists and journalists. There were no reports authorities entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization. Some civil society activists stated government intelligence services and operatives of Frelimo monitored telephone calls and emails without warrants, conducted surveillance of their offices, followed opposition members, used informants, and disrupted opposition party activities in certain areas.

Namibia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Nauru

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and laws prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Nepal

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these provisions.

The law allows police to conduct searches and seizures without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, in which case a search may be conducted if two or more persons of “good character” are present. If a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that a suspect may possess material evidence, the officer must submit a written request to another officer to conduct a search, and there must be another official present who holds at least the rank of assistant subinspector. Some legal experts claimed that by excluding prosecutors and judges from the warrant procedure, there were relatively few checks against police abuse of discretionary authority.

Netherlands

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law throughout the kingdom prohibits such actions but some human rights organizations criticized police capturing of facial photographs and storing citizens’ privacy-sensitive data.

Dutch police used photos of drivers’ faces automatically taken by automated number plate recognition (ANPR) license plate cameras for investigative purposes. The use of facial photos, however, is not permitted under the existing legal framework, under which police are only allowed to record license plates. Moreover, the data must be destroyed after 28 days, and recognizable faces must be blurred to prevent breaches of privacy. The head of the department responsible for the ANPR cameras of the National Police stated in August that he would like to see the law expanded so that in cases of serious crimes such as armed robbery, murder, or manslaughter, faces captured by ANPR cameras could be made recognizable and used in investigations. At year’s end, the Scientific Research and Documentation Center of the Ministry of Justice and Security was evaluating the relevant law to determine whether the use of the ANPR in this fashion could continue.

The Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism’s (NCTV) legal department confirmed in September that the government body had been unlawfully collecting, storing, and analyzing privacy-sensitive data about citizens for years, according to media outlet NRC, citing NCTV internal documents. During a parliamentary debate in June, Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus denied that NCTV acted unlawfully but nevertheless in July submitted a proposal for a draft law to provide a legal basis for the NCTV to process personal data. Parliament had yet to vote on the legislation by year’s end.

In December police announced a halt to the collection of personal data from phones and laptops of asylum seekers and the erasure of such data from police systems. The collection program, named “Athens,” began in 2016 over concerns about possible terrorists or criminals within the asylum seeker population, and cross-referenced the collected data with national databases to identify signs of human trafficking, smuggling, and terrorist threats. The practice, however, yielded no new criminal investigations, according to media. Authorities asserted this practice had been allowable under data regulations before the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulations in 2018. The Council of State, the highest court in the Netherlands, ruled in June there should be legal safeguards that “limit” the collection, use, and retention of data copied from asylum seekers’ phones and advocated for clearer definitions on for what purpose data could be stored and the length of storage.

New Zealand

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The government’s chief privacy officer is responsible for supporting government agencies to meet their privacy responsibilities and improve their privacy practices.

After 2020 media reports of trials of facial recognition systems by police, Immigration New Zealand, and the Internal Affairs Department, in August 2020 the government launched the Algorithm Charter, a set of guidelines for government agencies detailing transparency and accountability standards for the use of data.

Nicaragua

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence. The government, however, failed to respect these prohibitions. In several trials against political opposition members, the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented messages, emails, and documents exchanged through private phones and computers, obtained by police through raids without judicial warrants. FSLN grassroots organizations such as the Citizen Power Councils colluded with parapolice or party loyalists to target the homes of prodemocracy protesters. Without a warrant and under no legal authority, these groups illegally raided homes and detained occupants. Police routinely stationed police vehicles and officers outside the homes of opposition members, harassing visitors and often prohibiting opposition members from leaving their houses. These actions were widespread in large cities, particularly Managua, Matagalpa, Esteli, Masaya, Rivas, Leon, and Jinotega.

The Ministry of Health continued to hold several buildings seized by the Interior Ministry in 2018 from independent television station 100% Noticias and news magazine Confidencial and nine NGOs when it annulled the legal status of the media groups and NGOs. The ministry ordered the seized assets transferred to government ownership to create a Comprehensive Attention and Reparation Fund for the Victims of Terrorism. The government carried out this de facto confiscation without following due process or providing appropriate compensation to the lawful owners. Police again raided the offices and television studio of Confidencial on May 20, acting without a judicial warrant and seizing television equipment, computers, and documents from the news outlet.

Domestic NGOs, Catholic Church representatives, journalists, and opposition members alleged the government monitored their email and telephone conversations. Church representatives also stated their sermons were monitored. As part of a continuing social media campaign against prodemocracy protests, ruling party members and supporters used social media to publish personal information of human rights defenders and civil society members. Progovernment supporters marked the houses of civil society members with derogatory slurs or threats and then published photographs of the marked houses on social media. On several occasions the markings were accompanied by or led to destruction of private property. Although the law prohibits the use of drones, some members of the opposition claimed FSLN supporters used drones to spy on their houses.

Inhabitants in northern towns, particularly in the departments of Nueva Segovia, Jinotega, and Madriz, as well as the RACN and the South Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACS), alleged repeated government interrogations and searches without cause or warrant, related to supposed support for armed groups or prodemocracy protests, while government officials claimed they were confronting common criminals. Several opposition members who were former Contras claimed they were regularly surveilled, stopped, and detained by police for questioning for several hours, usually in connection with alleged contact with rearmed groups or antigovernment protests. The individuals also said progovernment sympathizers verbally threatened them outside their homes and surveilled and defaced their houses.

The ruling party reportedly required citizens to demonstrate party membership to obtain or retain employment in the public sector and have access to public social programs.

Niger

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law generally prohibit such actions, but there were exceptions. Police may conduct searches without warrants when they have a strong suspicion a house shelters criminals or stolen property. Under state of emergency provisions in the Diffa, Tahoua, and Tillaberi Regions, authorities may search houses at any time and for any reason. The communications intercept law permits interception of telephone calls and internet connections to facilitate terrorism and organized crime investigations, but the cybercrime act was more commonly invoked by the government (see section 2.a., Violence and Harassment).

Nigeria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary interference, but authorities reportedly infringed on this right during the year, and at times police entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization. In their pursuit of corruption cases, law enforcement agencies allegedly carried out searches and arrests without warrants.

The government blocked websites, including Twitter (see section 2.a, Censorship and Content Restrictions). In January the news website Peoples Gazette was blocked by several mobile internet services. The editor of the website alleged the government had ordered the blocking after the website in October 2020 criticized the competence of the government. The website remained blocked at year’s end.

The NGO Freedom House reported that several government agencies purchased spyware that allowed them to monitor cell phone calls, texts, and geolocation.

North Korea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution provides for the inviolability of person and residence and the privacy of correspondence; however, the government did not respect these provisions. The regime subjected its citizens to rigid controls. According to a 2019 HRNK report entitled Digital Trenches: North Koreas Information Counter-Offensive, the regime relied upon a massive, multilevel system of informants called inminban, which may be loosely translated as “neighborhood watch unit,” to identify critics or political criminals. Authorities sometimes subjected entire communities to security checks, entering homes without judicial authorization.

The government appeared to monitor correspondence, telephone conversations, emails, text messages, and other digital communications. Private telephone lines operated on a system that precluded making or receiving international calls; international telephone lines were available only under restricted circumstances. According to the 2020 KINU White Paper, defectors reported 727 cases related to the dissemination of external information, 315 cases of listening to external broadcasts, and 507 cases of inspection of communications and correspondence that led to detention or judicial punishment.

The Ministry of State Security strictly monitored mobile telephone use and access to electronic media in real time. Government authorities frequently jammed cellular telephone signals along the Chinese border to block use of the Chinese network to make international telephone calls. Authorities arrested those caught using cell phones with Chinese SIM cards and required violators to pay a monetary fine or bribe, or face charges of espionage or other crimes with harsh punishments, including lengthy prison terms. An October 2020 HRNK report entitled Eroding the Regimes Information Monopoly: Cell Phones in North Korea stated the number of both illegal Chinese-made cell phones and legally registered cell phones had risen sharply in recent years. Mobile networks reportedly reached approximately 94 percent of the population, although only 18 percent of the population owned a cell phone. The Ministry of State Security and other organs of the state actively and pervasively surveilled citizens, maintained arresting power, and conducted special-purpose nonmilitary investigations.

The government divided citizens into strict loyalty-based classes known as songbun that determined access to employment, higher education, place of residence, medical facilities, certain stores, marriage prospects, and food rations. Individuals and families with higher songbun were known to receive more leniency from government authorities regarding the usage of illegal cell phones and consumption of foreign, particularly South Korean, media, television shows, and films. Some media reports suggested this leniency decreased due to the December 2020 antireactionary ideology law.

NGOs reported the eviction of families from their places of residence without due process.

North Macedonia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions during the year.

The law prohibits the possession, processing, and publishing of any content, including wiretapped conversations, that violates the right to privacy involving personal or family life. The law also prohibits the use of such materials in election campaigns or for other political purposes. The Operational Technical Agency is responsible for conducting lawful intercepts in the country. It serves as the technical facilitator of operations for legal interception of communications, operating with its own budget separately from the Ministry of Interior.

Although there was a Council for Civilian Oversight of Wiretapping, it was not functional as of September 16. In June 2020 the president and the deputy of the council resigned, citing lack of operational resources. Parliament endorsed their resignations March 25.

On February 26, the Skopje Criminal Court convicted former Administration for Counterintelligence and Security director Sasho Mijalkov and 10 of his associates in the former SPO-initiated “Target-Fortress” trial for orchestrating the illegal wiretapping of more than 20,000 citizens between 2008 and 2015 and for destroying evidence. The court sentenced Mijalkov to 12 years in prison and remanded him in custody pending appeals. Former minister of interior Gordana Jankulovska, already serving a four-year prison sentence in the SPO-initiated “Tank” case, was sentenced to four years in prison. Two former counterintelligence staffers and current fugitives, Goran Grujevski and Nikola Boshkovski, were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.

Norway

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Oman

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law does not allow public officials to enter a private home without first obtaining a warrant from the public prosecution. The government monitored private communications, including cell phone, email, and social media exchanges. The government blocked most voice over internet protocol (VoIP) sites.

Pakistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, requiring court-issued warrants for property searches, but there were reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Police sometimes ignored this requirement and on occasion reportedly stole items during searches. Authorities seldom punished police for illegal entry. Police at times detained family members to induce a suspect to surrender. In cases pursued under the Antiterrorism Act, law enforcement agencies have additional powers, including of search and seizure without a warrant.

Several domestic intelligence services monitored politicians, political activists, suspected terrorists, NGOs, employees of foreign entities, and media professionals. These services included the Inter-Services Intelligence, Police Special Branch, the Intelligence Bureau, and Military Intelligence. Credible reports found that authorities routinely used wiretaps, monitored cell phone calls, intercepted electronic correspondence, and opened mail without court approval. There were credible reports the government used technology to arbitrarily or unlawfully surveil or interfere with the privacy of individuals. The government also used technologies and practices, including internet and social media controls, blocking or filtering of websites and social media platforms, censorship, and tracking methods.

Palau

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Panama

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.

Papua New Guinea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution prohibits such actions, there were instances of abuse. In April Port Moresby police broke into the residence of lawyer Laken Aigilo, an antagonist of Enga provincial governor Peter Ipatas, without a warrant. The officers held Aigilo at gunpoint, physically assaulted him, and seized his laptop, according to media (section 1.d.). One police officer was arrested and charged with deprivation of liberty for his role in the incident.

Police threatened and at times harmed family members of alleged offenders.

Paraguay

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.

Peru

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The government’s continued declaration of emergency zones in the VRAEM and La Pampa – due to drug trafficking and terrorist activity, and illegal mining, respectively – suspended the right to home inviolability in those regions.

Philippines

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The government generally respected citizens’ privacy, although leaders of communist and leftist organizations and rural-based NGOs complained of routine surveillance and harassment. Although the government generally respected restrictions on search and seizure within private homes, searches without warrants continued. Judges generally declared evidence obtained illegally to be inadmissible.

Poland

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions but allows electronic surveillance with judicial review for crime prevention and investigation. There were no reports that the government failed to respect those prohibitions.

Portugal

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and laws prohibit such actions; there was one report that municipal-level authorities failed to respect these prohibitions.

In June press outlets reported that Lisbon municipal authorities disclosed to Russian government officials the personal information of three Russian dissidents who had sought a permit to protest outside the Russian embassy in January. Lisbon officials apologized after significant public outcry and stated they would end this practice.

Qatar

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and the criminal procedures code prohibit such actions. Police and security forces, however, reportedly monitored telephone calls, emails, and social media posts.

Republic of the Congo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions; the government, however, did not always respect these prohibitions.

There were reports government authorities entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization, monitored private movements, and employed informer systems.

Romania

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law prohibit such actions, there were allegations by NGOs, politicians, and journalists that authorities failed to respect individual’s rights. There were reports that government authorities entered homes without judicial or appropriate authorization and unlawfully interfered with privacy. According to media reports, police and Ministry of Interior officials wrongfully ordered the surveillance of Radu Gavris, deputy chief of the Bucharest Police, to prevent him from competing for a leadership position in the police force. In January several police officers raided a restaurant where Gavris and several prosecutors were having dinner, allegedly in violation of COVID-19-related restrictions. Following the raid, the minister of interior announced that Gavris was removed from his position as anti-COVID-19 efforts coordinator. Media and the Europol police labor union suggested that police carried out the raid based on information they obtained from the surveillance.

Russia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law forbids officials from entering a private residence except in cases prescribed by federal law or when authorized by a judicial decision.  The law also prohibits the collection, storage, utilization, and dissemination of information about a person’s private life without his or her consent.  While the law previously prohibited government monitoring of correspondence, telephone conversations, and other means of communication without a warrant, those legal protections were significantly weakened by laws passed after 2016 granting authorities sweeping powers and requiring telecommunications providers to store all electronic and telecommunication data (see section 2.a., Internet Freedom).  Politicians from minority parties, NGOs, human rights activists, and journalists alleged that authorities routinely employed surveillance and other measures to spy on and intimidate citizens.

Law enforcement agencies required telecommunications providers to grant the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB continuous remote access to client databases, including telephone and electronic communications, enabling them to track private communications and monitor internet activity without the provider’s knowledge.  The law permits authorities with a warrant to monitor telephone calls in real time, but this safeguard was largely pro forma.  The Ministry of Information and Communication requires telecommunications service providers to allow the FSB to tap telephones and monitor the internet.  On July 1, President Putin signed into law a bill that allows security services to obtain data on the location of mobile telephones without a court order for a period of 24 hours, or 48 hours in the case of a missing minor.  Prior to the adoption of this amendment, even though the Ministry of Information and Communication maintained that authorities would not access information without a court order, the FSB was not required to show it.

Law enforcement officials reportedly accessed, collected, or used private communications or personal data arbitrarily or unlawfully or without appropriate legal authority.

The law requires explicit consent for governmental and private collection of biometric data via facial recognition technology.  Laws on public security and crime prevention, however, provide for exceptions to this consent requirement.  Human rights activists claimed the law lacks appropriate safeguards to prevent the misuse of these data, especially without any judicial or public oversight over surveillance methods and technologies.

Authorities punished family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives.  On January 27, police detained Aleksey Navalny’s brother Oleg (see section 1.d.) the same day as police searched the houses of at least 13 Navalny associates, including those of his wife Yuliya and his colleague Lyubov Sobol, as well as the headquarters of “Navalny Live,” Navalny’s anticorruption YouTube channel.  Critics characterized the police tactics as efforts to punish or pressure Navalny, who remained detained at the time.  In subsequent months authorities exerted similar pressure on the families of Navalny’s associates residing outside of the country, such as Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s former campaign manager, and Ivan Zhdanov, the former director of the Anticorruption Foundation.

According to a December 2020 study by the information and analytical agency TelecomDaily, the country had more than 13 million closed-circuit television cameras in 2020, with approximately one-third of these installed by the government and the rest by businesses and individuals to protect private property.  By the end of 2020, approximately 200,000 government surveillance cameras were installed in Moscow and equipped with Russian-developed automated facial recognition software as part of its “Safe City” program.  The system was initially installed in key public places, such as metro stations and apartment entrances, to scan crowds against a database of wanted individuals.  During the demonstrations on April 21 (see section 1.d.), authorities used facial recognition data to identify protesters, sometimes incorrectly, days after the demonstration.

In 2020 the State Duma adopted a law to create a unified federal register containing information on all the country’s residents, including their names, dates and places of birth, and marital status.  According to press reports, intelligence and security services would have access to the database in their investigations.  There were reports that authorities threatened to remove children from the custody of parents engaged in political activism or some forms of religious worship, or parents who were LGBTQI+ persons.  Several families reportedly left the country due to fear of arrest, although as of October no related arrests were reported.

The law requires relatives of terrorists to pay the cost of damages caused by an attack, which human rights advocates criticized as collective punishment.  Chechen Republic authorities reportedly routinely imposed collective punishment on the relatives of alleged terrorists, including by expelling them from the republic.

Rwanda

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law prohibit such actions, the government continued to monitor homes, movements, telephone calls, email, and personal and institutional communications. Government informants continued to work within internet and telephone companies, international and local NGOs, religious organizations, media, and other social institutions. In July Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories reported the government contracted with the NSO Group to use sophisticated telephone hacking tools to monitor individuals of interest within the country and abroad.

The law requires police to obtain authorization from a state prosecutor prior to entering and searching citizens’ homes. According to human rights organizations, state security forces at times entered homes without obtaining the required authorization or did so outside the legal hours for conducting searches and arrests.

The government blocked some websites, including media outlets, that included content considered contrary to government positions.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Saint Lucia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Samoa

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The laws prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the national government failed to respect these prohibitions. There was little privacy in villages, where there could be substantial societal pressure on residents to grant village officials access to their homes without a warrant.

San Marino

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Sao Tome and Principe

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Saudi Arabia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits unlawful intrusions into the privacy of persons, their homes, places of work, and vehicles. Criminal investigation officers are required to maintain records of all searches conducted; these records should contain the name of the officer conducting the search, the text of the search warrant (or an explanation of the urgency that necessitated the search without a warrant), and the names and signatures of the persons who were present at the time of search. While the law also provides for the privacy of all mail, telegrams, telephone conversations, and other means of communication, the government did not respect the privacy of correspondence or communications and used the considerable latitude provided by the law to monitor activities legally and intervene where it deemed necessary. Authorities targeted family members of activists and critics of the government.

In June dissident Abdullah al-Odah, son of prominent detained cleric Salman al-Odah (see section 1.d., Pretrial Detention), alleged that 17 of his family members were banned from travel and that his uncle, Khalid al-Odah, was arrested for tweeting about the cleric’s arrest.

There were reports from human rights activists of governmental monitoring or blocking of mobile phone or internet usage. (See section 1.e., Threats, Harassment, Surveillance, and Coercion, for reporting regarding the government’s purported use of Pegasus software to monitor activists and their families and friends.) The government strictly monitored politically related activities and took punitive actions, including arrest and detention, against persons engaged in certain political activities, such as calling for a constitutional monarchy or publicly criticizing senior members of the royal family by name (see section 2.a.). Customs officials reportedly routinely opened mail and shipments to search for contraband. Informants allegedly reported “seditious ideas,” “antigovernment activity,” or “behavior contrary to Islam” in their neighborhoods.

Use of encrypted communications by private citizens was banned, and authorities frequently attempted to identify and detain anonymous or pseudonymous users and writers who made critical or controversial remarks. Government authorities regularly surveilled websites, blogs, chat rooms, social media sites, emails, and text messages. Media outlets reported that authorities gained access to critics’ and activists’ Twitter and other social media accounts and in some cases questioned, detained, or prosecuted individuals for comments made online. The counterterrorism law allows the government to access a terrorism suspect’s private communications and banking information in a manner inconsistent with the legal protections provided by the law of criminal procedure.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) is charged with monitoring and regulating public interaction between members of the opposite sex, although in practice CPVPV authorities were greatly curtailed compared with past years.

Senegal

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were several reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Serbia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

While the constitution prohibits such actions, there were reports that the government failed to respect prohibitions on interfering with correspondence and communications. The law requires the Ministry of Interior to obtain a court order before monitoring potential criminal activity and police to obtain a warrant before entering property except to save persons or possessions. Police frequently failed to respect these laws.

Human rights activists and NGOs reported a lack of effective parliamentary oversight of security agencies. The extent of government surveillance on personal communications was unknown. Civil society activists and independent journalists alleged extensive surveillance of citizens’ social media posts and of journalists and activists critical of the government.

Seychelles

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Sierra Leone

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

Improvements: Authorities constructed latrines and shower facilities in the Port Loko, Bo, Magburaka, and Moyamba district correctional facilities. Several correctional facilities also implemented prison industries, such as bread baking, agriculture, and carpentry, and established inmate earning schemes, creating bank accounts for participating inmates and regularly depositing earnings from work activities. Prison authorities issued new bedding and pillows to several correctional centers. Nationwide, SLCS authorities established mechanisms for receiving prisoner complaints (see section 1.a.). The SLCS painted signs listing inmate visitation hours and phone numbers outside correctional facility walls and publicized visits as free of charge.

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Singapore

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution does not address privacy rights; statutory or common law provide remedies for infringement of some aspects of privacy rights. Several laws safeguard privacy, regulate access to and processing of personal data, and criminalize unauthorized access to data. Public agencies, however, are exempted from these data protection requirements; subject to public sector-specific laws, they can intercept communications and surveil individuals if it is determined to be in the national interest or necessary for investigations or proceedings.

The government generally respected the physical privacy of homes and families. Normally, police must have a warrant issued by a court to conduct a search but may search a person, home, or property without a warrant if they decide that such a search is necessary to preserve evidence or permissible according to discretionary powers of the ISA, CLA, and other laws.

Law enforcement authorities have broad powers to search electronic devices without judicial authorization, including while individuals are in custody. In 2020 Privacy International stated that, “Singapore has a well-established, centrally controlled technological surveillance system.” Law enforcement agencies, including the Internal Security Department and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, had extensive networks for gathering information and conducting surveillance and highly sophisticated capabilities to monitor telephone, email, text messaging, or other digital communications intended to remain private. No court warrants are required for such operations and the law gives police access to computers and decryption information under defined circumstances.

Slovakia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and police must present a warrant before conducting a search or within 24 hours afterwards. There were reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions in some cases. In one example proceedings remained pending against the commanding officer of a 2015 police raid in the Romani community in Vrbnica, which included house-to-house searches without warrants and complaints of excessive use of police force.

The continuing investigation into violations related to the 2018 murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee involved allegations of illegal information collection on journalists and their family members by law enforcement bodies (see section 2.a.).

Slovenia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and laws prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Solomon Islands

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Somalia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

According to the provisional federal constitution, “every person has the right to own, use, enjoy, sell, and transfer property,” and the private home is inviolable. Nonetheless, authorities searched property without warrants.

Government and regional authorities harassed relatives of al-Shabaab members.

South Africa

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions. The NGO Freedom House reported that government agencies employed spyware, social media analytics, and surveilled journalists, usually to identify their confidential sources. Most of these activities required court orders, but it was reportedly easy for agencies to obtain court orders. On February 4, the Constitutional Court ruled the law does not allow authorities to engage in bulk interception of communications in a case brought by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism. Civil society organizations raised concerns government management of the COVID-19 pandemic employed telephonic contact tracing that violated privacy rights. In April 2020 the government issued amended disaster management regulations. While the regulations recognized the right to privacy, the government urged citizens to make concessions until pandemic emergency measures were no longer necessary.

South Korea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such interference, and the government generally respected these prohibitions. The law establishes conditions under which the government may monitor telephone calls, mail, and other forms of communication for up to two months in criminal investigations and four months in national security cases. The Security Surveillance Act requires some persons sentenced to prison for violations of the NSL to report their whereabouts, travel plans, family relations, occupation, and financial status to a local police office within seven days of leaving prison and every third month thereafter.

While it does not outright prohibit access to media content from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the NSL forbids citizens from listening to DPRK radio programs, viewing DPRK satellite telecasts, or reading books published in the DPRK if the government determines such an action endangers national security or the basic order of democracy. Enforcement of these prohibitions was rare. In May the Ministry of Unification launched an online portal through which citizens can search the titles of certain articles from official DPRK newspapers, but it did not provide access to the content of the articles.

South Sudan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The transitional constitution prohibits interference with private life, family, home, and correspondence, but the law does not provide for the right to privacy. Authorities, however, reportedly violated these prohibitions. To induce suspects to surrender, officials at times held family members in detention centers. The law gives the NSS sweeping powers outside the constitutional mandate of arrest, detention, surveillance, search, and seizure. The NSS utilized surveillance tools, at times requiring telecommunications companies to hand over user data that could be used to tap telephone numbers or make arrests. The NSS monitored social media posts. Widespread surveillance led many human rights defenders to avoid discussing sensitive topics over the telephone. A February report by Amnesty International quoted one activist saying, “In South Sudan, they know if you are a human rights person, they might not follow you today, not arrest you now, but they can be following your phone conversation, can be checking on your phone every now and then and one day they will turn against you.” The NSS carried out physical surveillance and embedded agents in organizations and media houses and at events. Some individuals were subject to physical and telephonic surveillance prior to arrest and detention without warrants, with such surveillance continuing after detainees were released.

Spain

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions. In March police entered two private residences in Madrid to break up parties violating public health orders prohibiting home gatherings pursuant to an internal police order authorizing “necessary operational devices to ensure compliance with [health] measures and recommendations.” While the gatherings themselves did not constitute a crime, police maintained that citizens who refused to open the door and identify themselves committed the crime of disobedience, which is penalized under the Law on the Protection of Citizen Security. Lawyers and rights groups called the action unconstitutional, saying entry without a warrant violated the right to inviolability of the home.

Amnesty International continued to call on the government to publish information about any contracts it has with digital surveillance companies, as a follow-up to the investigation a court in Barcelona was carrying out on the complaint filed by former Catalan regional parliament president Roger Torrent and regional parliamentarian Ernest Maragall that their cell phones were surveilled in 2019 using a software program developed by the Israeli company NSO Group.

Sri Lanka

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The PTA permits government authorities to enter homes and monitor communications without judicial or other authorization. Government authorities reportedly monitored private movements without authorization. During the year civil society and journalists reported allegations of both online and offline surveillance.

On September 6, parliament approved a state of emergency, declared by the president on August 30, to control food prices and prevent hoarding amid shortages of some supplies. The emergency regulations enabled authorities to detain persons without warrants, seize property, enter and search any premises, suspend laws, and issue orders that could not be questioned in court, while allowing officials who issued the order to be immune from lawsuits. Opposition leaders and civil society organizations said the emergency declaration was not needed and that other laws could have been used to maintain essential supplies. The emergency regulations lapsed on September 30. Media and civil society reported that the government used the regulations to raid warehouses and seize food but did not indicate broader use of the emergency powers.

Sudan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and this type of activity appeared to have ceased, or been dramatically reduced, under the CLTG. Following the military takeover, the military government increasingly accessed, collected, or used private communications or personal data arbitrarily. There were also some reports of security forces entering homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization in search of individuals believed to be involved in organizing protests.

Suriname

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

The April 2020 case of the alleged attempted kidnapping of a former candidate for the National Assembly, Rodney Cairo, remained under judicial investigation. Security personnel allegedly acting on the orders of the then director of national security, Lieutenant Colonel Danielle Veira, raided Cairo’s home after Cairo criticized the then minister of defense on his Facebook page. Veira was subsequently relieved of her duties. In January Veira was officially identified as a suspect in the Cairo case, in which the pending charges were hostage taking, complicity to hostage taking, incitement to hostage taking, armed robbery, and complicity to armed robbery.

Sweden

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Switzerland

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Syria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary searches, but the regime routinely failed to respect these prohibitions. Police and other security services frequently bypassed search warrant requirements in criminal cases by citing security reasons or emergency grounds for entry into private property. Arbitrary home raids occurred in large cities and towns of most governorates where the regime maintained a presence, usually following antigovernment protests, opposition attacks against regime targets, or resumption of regime control.

The regime continued to open mail addressed to both citizens and foreign residents and routinely monitored internet communications, including email (see section 2.a.).

Numerous reports confirmed the regime punished large numbers of family members for offenses allegedly committed by their relatives, such as by arbitrarily placing them on a list of alleged terrorists and freezing their assets. In March the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published a report noting that family members of perceived regime opponents and political detainees “are at risk of extortion and intimidation, and, in some cases, the unlawful freeze of assets and confiscation of property as a form of collective punishment.” UNHCR also noted that family members remained at risk of “threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest, torture, and enforced disappearance for the purpose of retaliation or to force real or perceived government critics to surrender.”

Taiwan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports authorities failed to respect these prohibitions.

Tajikistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

While the constitution and laws generally prohibit many of these actions, there were numerous reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

The constitution states the home is inviolable. With certain exceptions, it is illegal to enter a home by force or deprive a person of a home. The law states police may not enter and search a private home without the approval of a judge. Authorities may carry out searches without a prosecutor’s authorization in exceptional cases. The law states courts must be notified of such searches within 24 hours. Police frequently ignored these laws and infringed on citizens’ right to privacy, including conducting personal searches without a warrant.

According to the law, “when sufficient grounds exist to believe that information, documents, or objects that are relevant to the criminal case may be contained in letters, telegrams, radiograms, packages, parcels, or other mail and telegraph correspondence, they may be intercepted” with a warrant issued by a judge. The law states only a judge may authorize monitoring of telephone or other communication. Security offices often monitored communications, such as social media and telephone calls, without judicial authorization.

According to the law, government authorities can punish family members for offenses committed by their relatives, such as if an underage child commits an offense. There were continuing reports that relatives of perceived government critics in exile were harassed or targeted by local authorities inside the country.

On April 2, Fayzabad District Court sentenced in absentia Saymuddin Dustov, the former editorial head of the newspaper Nigoh and founder of the news agency TojNews who currently resides in Poland, to seven years of imprisonment for “public calls to carry out extremist activities and justification of extremism.” Dustov’s 72-year-old father and four neighbours were taken from their homes to the Fayzabad District Court to witness the trial and were forced to hand over their mobile phones. After the hearing Dustov’s father reportedly talked to the judge in private and the judge reportedly said that all the charges against Dustov would be dropped if Dustov returned to the country. Law enforcement officials also reportedly threatened that Dustov’s younger brothers would face criminal charges unless Dustov returned to the country.

Tanzania

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally prohibits such actions without a search warrant, but the government did not consistently respect these prohibitions. While only courts may issue search warrants, the law also authorizes searches of persons and premises without a warrant if necessary to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence or if circumstances are serious and urgent. The law relating to terrorism permits police officers at or above the rank of assistant superintendent or in charge of a police station to conduct searches without a warrant in certain urgent cases. After his July arrest in Mwanza, police searched Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe’s house in Dar es Salaam without a warrant because he was arrested on terrorism-related charges.

It was widely believed government agents monitored the telephones and correspondence of some citizens and foreign residents. The nature and extent of this practice were unknown, but due to fear of surveillance, many civil society organizations and leaders were unwilling to speak freely over the telephone. According to Freedom House, the government reportedly acquired social media monitoring and spyware technology and admitted that it monitored social media in previous years.

Thailand

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Security forces continued to use the deep-south emergency decree to conduct regular, warrantless searches in the southernmost provinces.  Other legislation allowing the search and seizure of computers and computer data, in cases where the defendant allegedly entered information into computer systems that is “likely to cause damage to the public,” is “false,” or is “distorted,” continued to be used extensively (see section 2.a.).  The law gives the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society authority to request and enforce the removal of information disseminated via the internet.

The government monitored social media and private communications with limited oversight.  Government agencies used surveillance technologies, including imported computer-monitoring software and licenses to import telecommunications interception equipment.  The country lacked accountability and transparency mechanisms for government surveillance.  Some legislation exempts data from privacy safeguards that are otherwise stipulated in law, does not protect individual privacy, and provides broad powers to the government to access personal information without judicial review or other forms of oversight.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital economy ministry introduced a mobile app to track and monitor individuals returning to the country from high-risk countries. The app required submission of information such as name, address, telephone number, and passport number, and it was made mandatory for all foreign arrivals.

There were numerous reports of security forces harassing citizens who publicly criticized the government, including by visiting or surveilling their residences or places of employment. In March, Tiwagorn Withiton was arrested on lese majeste and sedition charges as well as under computer crimes legislation for Facebook posts he made in February. In 2020 he was apprehended after posting a picture of himself online wearing a T-shirt critical of the monarchy.

The Cross-Cultural Foundation issued a report in 2020 on forced DNA collection from Muslim males by military personnel in the southernmost regions, a practice that critics said was discriminatory.

Tibet

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Authorities electronically and manually monitored private correspondence and searched, without warrant, private homes and businesses for photographs of the Dalai Lama and other forbidden items. Police routinely examined the cell phones of TAR residents in random stops or as part of other investigations to search for “reactionary music” from India or photographs of the Dalai Lama. Authorities also questioned and detained some individuals who disseminated writings and photographs over the internet or listened to teachings of the Dalai Lama on their cell phones. Authorities continued to employ pervasive surveillance systems, including the use of facial recognition and smart identity cards.

The “grid system,” an informant system also known as the “double-linked household system,” facilitated authorities’ efforts to identify and control persons considered “extremist” or “splittist.” The grid system groups households and other establishments and encourages them to report problems to the government, including financial problems and political transgressions, in other group households. Tibet.net reported in March that TAR authorities issued new regulations designed to encourage Tibetans to spy on each other. The article noted that the PRC often tests the loyalty of Tibetans by having them report on each other. Authorities rewarded individuals with money and other forms of compensation for their reporting. The maximum reward for information leading to the arrests of social media users deemed disloyal to the government increased to 300,000 renminbi ($42,800), six times the average per capita GDP in the TAR, according to local media.

According to sources in the TAR, Tibetans frequently received telephone calls from security officials ordering them to remove from their cell phones photographs, articles, and information on international contacts the government deemed sensitive. Security officials visited the residences of those who did not comply with such orders. Media reports indicated that in some areas, households were required to have photographs of PRC President Xi Jinping in prominent positions and were subject to inspections and fines for noncompliance. In a May case, media reported local officials sentenced a Tibetan herder from Qinghai Province for having “Tibet-related” material on his mobile phone.

The TAR regional government punished CCP members who followed the Dalai Lama, secretly harbored religious beliefs, made pilgrimages to India, or sent their children to study with Tibetans in exile.

Individuals in Tibetan areas reported they were subjected to government harassment and investigation because of family members living overseas. Observers also reported that many Tibetans traveling to visit family overseas were required to spend several weeks in political education classes after returning to China. Pharul.com reported in August that in April PRC authorities ordered Tibetans in Shigatse Prefecture, Dingri County, TAR to provide a list of their relatives living overseas. The demand followed similar efforts elsewhere in the TAR. Failure to do so would result in these individuals losing PRC-provided benefits.

The government also interfered with the ability of persons to find employment. Media reports in May noted that advertisements for 286 positions of different types in the TAR required applicants to “align ideologically, politically, and in action with the CCP Central Committee,” “oppose any splittist tendencies,” and “expose and criticize the Dalai Lama.” The advertisements explained that all applicants were subject to a political review prior to employment.

Timor-Leste

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government generally enforced this law.

Togo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were reports such interference occurred.

On May 17, a dozen heavily armed gendarmes in civilian clothes reportedly broke into Djimon Ore’s home in western Lome and searched without a warrant. After conducting a search, they arrested Ore and returned to take photos (see section 1.e., Political Prisoners).

On July 21, international media cited the use by authorities of Israeli software program Pegasus to spy on activists, opponents, and journalists. The government reportedly spied on several persons, including journalists Carlos Ketohou and Ferdinand Ayite, as well as opposition figures and human rights activists (see section 1.e., Political Prisoners).

Tonga

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Trinidad and Tobago

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Tunisia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The country’s counterterrorism law establishes the legal framework for law enforcement to use internationally recognized special investigative techniques, including surveillance and undercover investigations. The law allows interception of communications, including recording of telephone conversations, with advance judicial approval for a period not to exceed four months. Government agents are subject to a one-year prison sentence if they conduct surveillance without judicial authorization.

Turkey

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

While the constitution provides for the “secrecy of private life” and states that individuals have the right to demand protection and correction of their personal information and data, the law provides the MIT with the authority to collect information while limiting the ability of the public or journalists to expose abuses. Oversight of the MIT falls within the purview of the presidency and checks on MIT authorities are limited. The MIT may collect data from any entity without a warrant or other judicial process for approval. At the same time, the law establishes criminal penalties for conviction of interfering with MIT activities, including data collection or obtaining or publishing information concerning the agency. The law allows the president to grant the MIT and its employees’ immunity from prosecution.

Police possess broad powers for personal search and seizure. Senior police officials may authorize search warrants, with judicial permission required to follow within 24 hours. Individuals subjected to such searches have the right to file complaints; however, judicial permission occurring after a search had already taken place failed to serve as a check against abuse.

Security forces may conduct wiretaps for up to 48 hours without a judge’s approval. As a check against potential abuse of this power, the State Inspection Board may conduct annual inspections and present its reports for review to parliament’s Security and Intelligence Commission. Information on how often this authority was used was not available. Human rights groups noted that wiretapping without a court order circumvented judicial control and potentially limited citizens’ right to privacy. Some citizens asserted that authorities tapped their telephones and accessed their email or social media accounts. There was evidence the government monitored private online communications using nontransparent legal authority.

In February, Yuksel Kepenek, the CHP mayor of Honaz in Denizli Province, reported finding a listening device in his office. Kepenek blamed government authorities for installing the device.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Interior’s General Security Directorate announced it would monitor social media users’ posts that “disrupt public order” by spreading panic. The ministry gained the authority to search social media accounts as part of a “virtual patrol” for terrorist propaganda, insults, and other crimes in 2018. The Constitutional Court ruled in March 2020 that such surveillance was unconstitutional and that police must seek a court order to gather information on the identity of internet users or request user identity information from internet providers. The Ministry of Interior, however, continued to monitor social media accounts, and courts continued to accept evidence collected through the program. The ministry announced that it examined 5,934 social media accounts in the month of January and detained 118 individuals because of investigations. The ministry has not shared updated monthly information on social media account surveillance since January. Following the outbreak of massive wildfires in July, the minister of interior announced that the ministry examined 3,246 accounts for provocative information and took legal action against 172 users. The HRA reported that the Ministry of Interior examined a total of 98,714 social media accounts, detained 1,175 individuals, and arrested 52 because of the investigations in the first nine months of the year.

The law allows courts to order domestic internet service providers to block access to links, including to websites, articles, or social media posts. Authorities routinely blocked access to news sites. The NGO EngelliWeb reported that in 2020 authorities blocked 5,645 news site addresses on the internet. In 81 percent of the cases, site administrators removed the publication following the block.

Human rights groups asserted that self-censorship due to fear of official reprisal accounted in part for the relatively low number of complaints they received regarding allegations of torture or mistreatment.

Using antiterror legislation, the government targeted family members to exert pressure on wanted suspects. Government measures included cancelling the passports of family members of civil servants suspended or dismissed from state institutions, as well as of those who had fled authorities. In some cases the Ministry of Interior cancelled or refused to issue passports for the minor children of individuals outside the country who were wanted for or accused of ties to the Gulen movement. In July the Constitutional Court ruled that the provisions of the Passport Law allowing the Ministry of Interior to cancel passports violated freedom of travel rights protected by the constitution. The court found that passport cancellations on terrorism grounds must be subject to judicial review. The Constitutional Court ruled that its decision will go into effect in July 2022 and obligated the executive branch to develop new regulations within that timeframe.

Government seizure and closure during the previous five years of hundreds of businesses accused of links to the Gulen movement created ambiguous situations for the privacy of client information.

Turkmenistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law forbid such actions, but authorities frequently did not respect these prohibitions. Authorities reportedly searched private homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization.

The law does not regulate surveillance by the state security apparatus, which regularly monitored the activities of officials, citizens, opponents, and critics of the government, and foreigners. Security officials used physical surveillance, telephone tapping, electronic eavesdropping, and informers. Authorities frequently queried the parents of students studying overseas.

The government reportedly intercepted surface mail before delivery, and letters and parcels taken to the post office had to remain unsealed for government inspection.

According to CT, authorities conducted surveillance of activists and their relatives. Some persons harassed, detained, or arrested by authorities for their activism reported that the government detained and interrogated their family members.

Authorities blocked access to websites they considered sensitive, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and social media, as well as to some virtual private network (VPN) connections. The government controlled the internet (there was only one provider in the country) and monitored users’ (journalists, civil society, and others) internet activities.

Tuvalu

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Uganda

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. There were reports that government authorities entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization; accessed, collected, or used private communications or personal data arbitrarily or without appropriate legal authority; implemented regulations and practices that allow for the arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, including the use of technology arbitrarily or unlawfully to surveil or interfere with the privacy of individuals; and used technologies and practices including internet and social media controls, blocking or filtering of websites and social media platforms, sensors, biometric data collection, and data analytics. The law authorizes government security agencies to tap private conversations to combat terrorism-related offenses. The government invoked the law to monitor telephone and internet communications.

Ukraine

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, but there were reports authorities generally did not respect the prohibitions.

By law the Security Service of Ukraine may not conduct surveillance or searches without a court-issued warrant. The Security Service and law enforcement agencies, however, sometimes conducted searches without a proper warrant, which human rights groups partially attributed to the Security Service’s wide mandate to conduct both law enforcement and counterintelligence tasks. In an emergency, authorities may initiate a search without prior court approval, but they must seek court approval immediately after the investigation begins. Citizens have the right to examine any dossier in the possession of the Security Service that concerns them; they have the right to recover losses resulting from an investigation. There was no implementing legislation, authorities generally did not respect these rights, and many citizens were not aware of their rights or that authorities had violated their privacy.

There were reports that the government improperly sought access to information regarding journalists’ sources and investigations (see section 2.a.).

Law enforcement bodies monitored the internet, at times without appropriate legal authority, and took significant steps to block access to websites based on “national security concerns” (see section 2.a.).

United Arab Emirates

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits entry into a home without the owner’s permission, except when police present a lawful warrant. Officers’ actions in searching premises were subject to review by the Ministry of Interior, and officers were subject to disciplinary action if authorities judged their actions irresponsible.

The constitution provides for free and confidential correspondence by mail, telegram, and all other means of communication. There were reports, however, that the government monitored and occasionally censored incoming international mail, wiretapped telephones, and monitored outgoing mail and electronic forms of communication without following appropriate legal procedures. According to media reports, the government engaged in systematic campaigns to target journalists and activists using spyware and hackers. In July a series of investigations by 17 global media organizations, known as the Pegasus Project, accused the government of using NSO Group-developed spyware to target journalists and activists in the country and abroad, including Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf and human rights defender Alaa al-Siddiq.

United Kingdom

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Uruguay

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Uzbekistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the constitution and law forbid arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, authorities did not respect these prohibitions. The law requires that prosecutors approve requests for search warrants for electronic surveillance, but there is no provision for judicial review of such warrants.

In 2019 the government adopted a unified statute addressing matters related to personal data protection and processing. Previously, numerous laws and resolutions regulated the government’s protection of and processing procedures for individuals’ personal data, which complicated compliance requirements.

There were no reports of raids of the homes of religious groups’ members and unregistered congregations.

The government continued to use an estimated 12,000 mahalla (neighborhood) committees as a source of information on potential “extremists.” The committees provide various social support functions, including the distribution of social welfare assistance to the elderly, single parents, or families with many children; intervention in cases of domestic violence; and adjudication of disputes among residents, but they also inform government and law enforcement authorities on community members. In 2020 the president issued a decree that established the Ministry for the Support of Community (Mahalla) and Family Affairs. The ministry is tasked with facilitating close cooperation between state-level government and the local mahallas on women, family, and social structure matters.

Mahallas in rural areas tended to be more influential than those in cities.

Vanuatu

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Venezuela

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution provides for the inviolability of the home and personal privacy, but the Maduro regime generally failed to respect these prohibitions. In many cases, particularly regarding the political opposition, regime-aligned authorities searched homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization, seized property without due process, and interfered in personal communications. FAES and other security forces regularly conducted both politically motivated and indiscriminate household raids. Throughout the year media reports documented raids by security forces on the homes of opposition party politicians, their relatives, and members of independent media. NGO offices were also subject to arbitrary raids and their work equipment seized.

State surveillance remained rampant, including through the assistance of telecom regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) and state-run telecommunications provider CANTV. Furthermore, telecommunications companies reportedly assisted the regime in monitoring communications of political opponents. Technical attacks against media outlets appeared to be linked to the armed forces.

China, through its telecommunications corporation ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation), provided the Maduro regime with technology to monitor citizens’ social, political, and economic behavior through an identity card called carnet de la patria (homeland card). To force citizens to comply, the regime made it obligatory to present the card to obtain social services, including pensions, medicine, food baskets, subsidized fuel, and in some instances COVID vaccinations. Citizens essentially had no choice but to obtain and use the card despite the known tracking methods. Chinese companies such as Huawei and the China National Electronics Import-Export Company also supported, financially and technologically, these surveillance methods.

Vietnam

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, home, or correspondence, but the government did not consistently protect these rights and at times violated them.

By law security forces need warrants to enter homes forcibly, but Ministry of Public Security officers regularly entered or surveilled homes, particularly of activists, without legal authority. They often intimidated residents with threats of repercussions for failure to allow entry.

Without legal warrants authorities regularly opened and censored targeted private mail; confiscated packages and letters; and monitored telephone conversations, email, text messages, blogs, and fax transmissions. The government cut telephone lines and interrupted the cellphone and internet service of several political activists and their family members.

There were many reports of local police without warrants entering residences of citizens who reportedly did not comply with pandemic-related restrictions, taking them to quarantine facilities. For example on September 28, police and local officers broke into the house of Hoang Thi Phuong Lan in Vinh Phu Commune, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province and dragged her out of her apartment for a COVID-19 test, reportedly without a warrant. Local authorities apologized for their aggressive actions but still fined Lan for violating COVID-19 mitigation regulations.

The Ministry of Public Security maintained a system of household registration and block wardens to monitor unlawful activity. While this system was less intrusive than in the past, the ministry closely monitored individuals engaged in or suspected of engaging in unauthorized political activities.

West Bank and Gaza

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The PA law generally requires the PA attorney general to issue warrants for entry into and searches of private property; however, PA judicial officers may enter Palestinian houses without a warrant in case of emergency. NGOs reported it was common for the PA to harass family members for alleged offenses committed by an individual. Although the Oslo Accords restrict the PASF to operations only in Area A of the West Bank, at times they operated in Areas B, C, and H2 without official Israeli permission, including to harass individuals sought for political activity or search their homes.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas frequently interfered arbitrarily with personal privacy, family, and home, according to reporting from local media and NGO sources. There were reports Hamas searched homes and seized property without warrants and took control of hotels to use as quarantine facilities unlawfully and without compensation to the owners. They targeted critics of their policies, journalists, Fatah loyalists, civil society members, youth activists, and those whom Hamas’ security forces accused of criminal activity. Hamas forces monitored private communications systems, including telephones, email, and social media sites. They demanded passwords and access to personal information and seized personal electronic equipment of detainees. While Hamas membership was not a prerequisite for obtaining housing, education, or Hamas-provided services in Gaza, authorities commonly reserved employment in some government positions, such as those in the security services, for Hamas members. In several instances, Hamas detained individuals for interrogation and harassment, particularly prodemocracy youth activists, based on the purported actions of their family members.

In response to reported security threats, the ISF frequently raided Palestinian homes, including in areas designated as under PA security control by Oslo Accords-era agreements, according to media and PA officials. These raids often took place at night, which the ISF stated was due to operational necessity. ISF officers of lieutenant colonel rank and above may authorize entry into Palestinian private homes and institutions in the West Bank even without a warrant, based upon military necessity.

Israel’s Settlement Affairs Ministry published criteria in December 2020 for regional councils of Israeli settlers in the West Bank to apply for Israeli government funding for private drones and patrol units to monitor Palestinian building efforts, according to media reports. It was unclear, however, if any settlers received state funding for this purpose during the year. In 2020 Palestinians reported the use of drones by Israeli settlers to observe residents in neighboring villages for security purposes, including to identify the source of noise complaints. NGOs also noted incidents of settlers at agricultural outposts using drones to monitor grazing areas used by Palestinian farmers and shepherds in order to report them to Israeli security forces and further deny them access to pastoral lands.

According to B’Tselem and the United Nations, the Israeli military compelled various communities throughout the Jordan Valley to vacate their homes in areas Israel had declared firing zones during times when the IDF was conducting military exercises.

A 2003 Israeli law that was renewed annually until July when the Knesset did not extend it, prohibited Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, and Lebanese, including those who are Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents or citizens, from obtaining resident status unless the Ministry of the Interior made a special determination, usually on humanitarian grounds. The government had extended the law annually due to government reports that Palestinian family reunification allowed entry to a disproportionate number of persons who were later involved in acts of terrorism. Following the Knesset’s decision in July not to extend the law, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials stated that the Ministry of Interior instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to continue to examine cases that were not covered by the limiting circumstances under the expired temporary order, such as humanitarian reasons. Applications that were covered by the expired order could be resubmitted for review, but they will not be adjudicated until a new implementing policy is in place, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The NGO HaMoked asserted that statistics from government documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests contradicted allegations of terrorism, and that the denial of residency to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza for the purposes of family reunification led to cases of family separation. As of July the Population and Immigration Authority had received 774 family unification requests. By year’s end, no request was acted on.

HaMoked reported that, of the more than 2,000 requests filed in the previous two years, most were for West Bank Palestinians married to Israelis or East Jerusalemites. On September 14, HaMoked, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and Physicians for Human Rights filed a petition demanding the Ministry of Interior respect the law and process the requests. On October 6, the head of the Population and Immigration Authority, Tomer Moskowitz, stated that the Ministry of Interior was continuing to implement the prior law as if it had not expired. Israeli authorities confirmed at the end of the year that in accordance with the Israeli government’s decision from 2008 regarding the extension of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), the minister of the interior was instructed not to approve any requests for family reunification received from Gaza. This decision was made due to Israeli security authorities’ assessment that Gaza was an area where activities were carried out that may threaten the security of the State of Israel and its citizens, according to Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

According to press reports, as of 2020 there were approximately 13,000 Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza living in Israel, including Jerusalem, on temporary stay permits because of the Citizenship and Entry Law, with no legal provision that they would be able to continue living with their families. There were also cases of Palestinian spouses living in East Jerusalem without legal status. Authorities did not permit Palestinians who were abroad during the 1967 war or whose residency permits the government subsequently withdrew to reside permanently in Jerusalem. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations called on the government to repeal this law and resume processing family unification applications. The law allows the entry of spouses of Israelis on a “staying permit” if the male spouse is age 35 or older and the female spouse is age 25 or older, for children up to age 14, and a special permit to children ages 14 to 18, but they may not receive residency and have no path to citizenship. This law applies to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, and Lebanese, including those who are Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents or citizens, unless the Ministry of the Interior makes a special determination, usually on humanitarian grounds.

Israeli authorities froze family unification proceedings for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in 2000. On August 30, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian general authority for civil affairs Hussein al-Sheikh announced that Israel had agreed to approve 5,000 family reunification requests filed by Palestinians. Both undocumented foreign nationals married to Palestinians and former residents of Gaza who during the year lived in the West Bank were eligible to apply to adjust their residency status under the agreement. In late December al-Sheikh announced that Israel would approve 9,500 additional requests: 6,000 from the West Bank and 3,500 from Gaza. In 2020 individuals from the occupied territories submitted 1,191 family unification applications, 340 of which were approved and 740 of which were pending, according to the Israeli government.

HaMoked stated in 2020 there were likely thousands of foreign spouses living in the West Bank with their Palestinian partners, and often children, with only temporary tourist visas, a living situation that became more complicated under COVID-19 with the frequent closures of Allenby Bridge. HaMoked stated that because these individuals used the Allenby Bridge to enter and depart the West Bank from Jordan, the bridge’s closure left them with the choice of either potentially overstaying their visa or attempting to travel through Ben Gurion Airport, which they are not permitted to do without special Israeli permission. HaMoked claimed the military’s prior refusal to review requests of foreign citizens for family unification was contrary to Israeli law and to Israeli-Palestinian interim Oslo Accords-era agreements. HaMoked stated the IDF rejected family unification requests based on a broad policy and not on the facts of the individual cases brought before it. As such, HaMoked stated, the practice did not appropriately balance relevant security needs and the right of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, whom HaMoked stated were protected persons under international humanitarian law, to family life.

Israeli authorities reportedly permitted children in Gaza access to a parent in the West Bank only if no other close relative was resident in Gaza.

Yemen

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law prohibits these actions, but the government of Yemen was unable to enforce the law. According to human rights NGOs, Houthi-controlled agents searched homes and private offices, monitored telephone calls, read personal mail and email, and otherwise intruded into personal matters without even purporting to possess “warrants” or authorization from Houthi-controlled “courts.”

The law requires the attorney general personally to authorize telephone call monitoring and reading of personal mail and email, but there was no indication the law was followed.

Citizens may not marry a foreigner without permission from the Ministry of Interior, the National Security Bureau, and, in some instances, the Political Security Organization under regulations authorities enforced arbitrarily. The ministry typically approved marriages to foreigners if they provided a letter from their embassy stating the government of the noncitizen spouse had no objection to the marriage and presented a marriage contract signed by a judge. There was no available information on existing practice.

The GEE reported the Houthis threatened and harassed relatives of disappeared detainees who were searching for the whereabouts of their loved ones.

Zambia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government frequently did not respect these prohibitions. The law requires a search or arrest warrant before police may enter a home, except during a state of emergency or when police suspect a person has committed an offense such as treason, sedition, defaming the president, or unlawful assembly. There were no reports that government authorities entered homes without judicial or other appropriate authorization. The law grants authority to the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Zambia Security and Intelligence Service, and police to monitor communications using wiretaps with a warrant based on probable cause; authorities generally respected this requirement. The government required cell phone service providers to register all subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. In March the government enacted a new cyber security law that expanded its capacity to restrict online expression and violate citizens’ privacy. The new law gave the government the power to intercept private communications and curtail civil liberties, an activity the government was reportedly doing already.

Zimbabwe

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary interference with privacy, family, or home, but local NGOs reported the government did not respect this right. Throughout the year government officials pressured local chiefs and ZANU-PF loyalists to monitor and report on persons suspected of supporting political parties other than ZANU-PF.

The law permits intercepting or monitoring any communication (including telephone, postal mail, email, and internet traffic) transmitted through a telecommunication, postal, or other system in the country. Civil liberties advocates claimed the government used the law to stifle freedom of speech and target political and civil society activists (see section 2.a.).