UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly on Wednesday called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance and expressed concern at the harm such scrutiny, including spying in foreign states and the mass collection of personal data, may have on human rights.
The call was included in a resolution drafted by Germany and Brazil which the 193-member General Assembly adopted by consensus.
The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - known as the Five Eyes surveillance alliance - supported the resolution after language that had initially suggested foreign spying could be a human rights violation was weakened to appease them.
The resolution does not name specific countries but comes after former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden released details this year of a global spying program by the NSA, sparking international outrage.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.