Right to Privacy in the Digital Age; Liberty and Security at Loggerheads

February 03, 2021

A press release issued by Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) pertaining to the Round Table Discussion on “Right to Privacy in the Digital Age; Liberty and Security at Loggerheads” is as follows:


Round Table Discussion on

“Right to Privacy in the Digital Age; Liberty and Security at Loggerheads”.

2nd of February 2021 from 1600 hrs to 1730 hrs

Organized by the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS)


Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) held a Round Table Discussion, at the INSS conference hall on 02nd February from 1600 hrs to 1730 hrs with the participation of several experts from the legal, information technology, academic, military, police and intelligence fields to discuss on Right to Privacy in the Digital field and how its impact to security and liberty.

The guest speakers of the discussion were Dr. Chamila Talagala, Legal Consultant and member Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture and Mr. Jayantha Fernando, Director Sri Lanka CERT and the Legal Advisor to Information Communication Technology Agency. The Round Table Discussion was moderated by Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunewardena , Director Communication and Publication of INSS, RWP**, RSP, VSV, USP, nswc, psc, hdmc.

Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunewardene commenced the session by welcoming the guest speakers including the distinguished invitees and the participants. He shed light on the matter of how privacy right has become vulnerable citing the example on recent controversy regarding WhatsApp update and defenseless state of government websites shifting to Gmail to safeguard privacy.

Dr. Chamila Talagala delivered an illustrious presentation on what is right to privacy, privacy as a human right, the components of privacy rights and the legal instruments relating to right of privacy. Moreover, he highlighted the novel methods of intrusions to privacy of an individual. One of the key aspect he pointed is the right to privacy and its relation to national security. In addition, the necessity of balancing individual rights against the collective rights and how national security, being the best interest of the majority must be given precedence.

The second speaker Mr. Jayantha Fernando delivered a notable presentation by elucidating what is the privacy, how it is interlinked with rights. Moreover, he highlighted the key domestic as well as international legal instruments. He emphasized the challenges faced in the digital era and referred to the privacy in several discussion.

Aftermath of the two remarkable presentation a discussion commenced. Additional Solicitor General Mr. Susantha Balapatabendi representing the Attorney General’s department delivered detailed remarks on UN Resolutions regarding privacy and national laws. Dr. Chathura De Silva and Colonel KP Prathapasinghe added noteworthy comments in information technology and security aspect especially on tracing technologies already in practice in Sri Lanka as well as the lacunas of existing laws and regulations to address issues of right to privacy vs. National Security. Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunewardene presented certificates of appreciation to the two guest speakers. Concluding the Round Table Discussion Ms. Charani Patabendige thanked the guest speakers and invitees on behalf of INSS.

Media Release of Institute of National Security Studies, premier think tank on National Security established under the Ministry of Defence.