UN expert: Data mining a threat to human rights

Unfettered collection of personal data by intelligence agencies is a threat to basic human rights, a UN expert has warned. In an advance copy of a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Martin Scheinin said so-called 'data mining' blurs the boundary between the targeted observation of suspects and mass surveillance. The temptation to collect excess information because it may be useful, rather than for a specific purpose, could undermine a person's right to privacy and nondiscrimination, he said. "The technical capabilities of this technique can tempt the user towards broadening the definition of what is considered suspicious," according to the report published on a UN Web site Friday.