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Right to privacy: UN expert to visit South Korea

GENEVA (12 July 2019) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, will visit the Republic of Korea from 15 to 26 July to examine legislation and practices on surveillance, data protection, health data, biometrics and other issues related to his mandate.

The Special Rapporteur will focus on legislation like the 2011 Personal Information Protection Act, the mandatory mobile phone registration law, and the 2005 Bioethics and Safety Act. The use of CCTV, biometrics and ID cards, and their impact on the right to privacy will be studied by Mr. Cannataci.

“I will also conduct a gender-based analysis of the issues brought to my attention, in order to look at measures to improve the way women’s right to privacy is protected in the Republic of Korea,” Cannataci said.

The Special Rapporteur, who will visit the country invited by the Government, will travel to Seoul, Jeju, Daegu and Miryang, and meet government officials, civil society organisations and academics working on the right to privacy.

“I will study good practices and learn more about practices that can be used as an example for other countries,” said the independent expert. He will report his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2020.

The expert will also promote his initiative for the protection of children’s right to privacy.

At the end of his visit, on 26 July at 14:30 local time, the Special Rapporteur will hold a news conference at the Korea Press Centre, 25, 1-GA, Taepyong-RO, Chung-GU, Seoul, South Korea, to share with the media his preliminary observations and conclusions. Access to the news conference is strictly limited to journalists.


Mr. Joseph Cannataci (Malta) was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy by the Human Rights Council in July 2015. He is an academic who has had a pioneering role in the development on data protection, privacy law and technology law. A UK Chartered Information Technology Professional & Fellow of the British Computer Society, he also continues to act as Expert Consultant to a number of international organisations. 

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Republic of Korea 

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
During the visit: Mr. Jon Izagirre Garcia (+41 79 444 4552);
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Mr. Jon Izagirre Garcia (+41 22 917 97 15 / jizagirre@ohchr.org) or srprivacy@ohchr.org;

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: 
Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)