Building the Credibility and Capacity of Privacy and Surveillance Watchdogs in Lebanon


New e-government programs, biometric passports, and citywide surveillance have been recently introduced in Lebanon. Yet, in the absence of a legal framework to safeguard privacy or protect electronic data, questions are raised about the protection of personally identifiable information (PII) and mass surveillance of citizens. This makes it critical to raise awareness and correct misinformation among the public about the risks of unprotected user data.

SMEX’s Project Mission

Starting July 2016, SMEX will lead an in-depth research on electronic surveillance practices in Lebanon. This research will build on the 2015 joint stakeholder report on the right to privacy in Lebanon that was submitted as part of Lebanon’s 2015 Universal Periodic Review.

Key Objectives

During the 12-month project, SMEX will establish a baseline of knowledge about surveillance that will be used to raise public awareness and launch further investigation through reporting fellowships.

Key Activities

  • Conducting a desk research to assemble a literature review of existing knowledge about government privacy and surveillance practices in Lebanon
  • Hosting two journalist fellows to conduct a research on specific issues
  • Presenting the findings to the public

Expected Impact

  • Establishing SMEX as a local specialist on government surveillance practices
  • Producing original, evidence-grounded research
  • Developing the capacity of Lebanese journalists to investigate and cover this critical issue in the public interest
  • Assisting policymakers in identifying areas for legal and policy reform and advocacy for privacy protection and/or surveillance frameworks that respect internationally recognized norms and best practices as well as human and civil rights