Global News

UK Surveillance Program Leaked by Snowden Violated Rights, Court Says

UK Surveillance Program Leaked by Snowden Violated Rights, Court Says

The court gave Britain, which is in the process of altering legislation on an issue publicly exposed by USA whistleblower Edward Snowden, three months to decide whether to request an appeal hearing after Thursday's ruling.

The ACLU stressed that the ruling sends a clear message that government surveillance is a violation of the human right to privacy in all countries. The judges also found that there were insufficient safeguards put in place to govern access to communications data. Europe's human rights court is about to publish what could be a landmark ruling on the legality of mass surveillance.

The case, brought by a number of human rights and journalism organisations, is one of many challenges launched after the United States whistleblower, former NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden's 2013 revelations that GCHQ was secretly intercepting communications traffic via fibre-optic undersea cables.

The court's seven judges also voted 6-1 that Britain's regime for getting data from communications service providers also violated the human rights convention, including its provisions on privacy and on freedom of expression.

The court found that the bulk collection of data regime revealed by the Edward Snowden revelations infringed on the rights of individuals to have a private life and that the data collection regime was incapable of keeping the "interference" limited to what is "necessary in a democratic society".

One activity the court decided wasn't illegal, however, was GCHQ's policy of sharing sensitive data with foreign governments.

'Furthermore, there were no real safeguards applicable to the selection of related communications data for examination, even though this data could reveal a great deal about a person's habits and contacts, ' the court statement said.




Gavin Millar QC, also counsel for TBIJ, said: "The government must now rewrite the law as to how the security and intelligence service can look at and use journalists confidential communications and material". The scope for unrestricted snooping "could be capable of painting an intimate picture of a person" through mapping of social networks and communication patterns, browsing and location tracking, and understanding who a person is interacting with, the court said.

A group of human rights organisations including Big Brother Watch and Amnesty International brought the case to the court. 'Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the United Kingdom has adopted the most authoritarian surveillance regime of any Western state, corroding democracy itself and the rights of the British public.

The British government said it would give "careful consideration" to the court's findings. "However, since the new Investigatory Powers Act arguably poses an ever greater threat to civil liberties, our work is far from over".

The groups pursued the case because they believe they were targeted for government surveillance. The advocacy groups focused on the power granted by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which was replaced in 2016 by the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, a bill that hasn't yet gone into effect.

The spokesperson added that an investigatory powers commissioner has also been created to provide oversight of how surveillance is used.

Silkie Carlo, of Big Brother Watch, added: "This landmark judgment confirming that the UK's mass spying breached fundamental rights vindicates Mr Snowden's courageous whistleblowing".


  • Rat causes Chinese restaurant chain to lose £145 million in value

    Rat causes Chinese restaurant chain to lose £145 million in value

    According to a report from Chinese outlet Kanka News , the market value of Xiabu Xiabu has been on a downward trend since August. Ma said he and his wife went to the hospital where she had a checkup to ensure the baby was healthy.
    Celebrity Big Brother victor  Ryan Thomas 'set to make millions'

    Celebrity Big Brother victor Ryan Thomas 'set to make millions'

    However she later quit the house and admitted she was wrong after seeing Ryan's devastation. Ryan Thomas emerged as the victor of this year's Celebrity Big Brother competition.
    IPhone XS, XS Max: First Impression

    IPhone XS, XS Max: First Impression

    That may be because the new iPhone XS has the same starting price, meaning Apple would have to offer the iPhone X at a discount. In Poland, someone who wants that same iPhone XS Max will have to pay $1,956 (compared to $1,449 here in the USA , of course).
  • United States  threatens ban to fight teenage vaping epidemic

    United States threatens ban to fight teenage vaping epidemic

    If manufacturers aren't willing to do the research, he said, the FDA will do it for them, with appropriate consequences. A loss for public health and win for big tobacco? Officials said 131 of the retailers will have to pay penalties.

    Hurricane Center says Florence close to landfall in North Carolina

    National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday, adding that life-threatening storm surge and rainfall were still expected. Wild horses in the Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort, North Carolina will fend for themselves during Hurricane Florence .
    Unelected Bureaucrats Consider Banning Adults from Buying Flavored E-Cigarettes

    Unelected Bureaucrats Consider Banning Adults from Buying Flavored E-Cigarettes

    The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies they declared have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids. "I'll be clear. Juul Labs said it would work with the FDA on its request and is committed to preventing underage use of its product.
  • Everything we know about the new iPhones

    Everything we know about the new iPhones

    And the images that were leaked showcase a larger 6.5-inch model as well without spilling any more details. However, in this case, the Cupertino-based giant is said to throw in more memory for a better experience.
    Jose Mourinho launches fierce defence of Marcus Rashford role at Manchester United

    Jose Mourinho launches fierce defence of Marcus Rashford role at Manchester United

    Rashford, who is suspended for Saturday's trip to Watford, scored twice for England during the worldwide break prompting suggestions he should be play more regularly for his club.
    The Apple Watch is inching toward becoming a medical device

    The Apple Watch is inching toward becoming a medical device

    Overall I found the new Apple Watch 4 a lot more attractive than its predecessors - though it's still a quite steep price point. The 6.1-inch features a bright LCD screen and comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, coral and red.
  • Georgia Declares Emergency as Hurricane Florence Approaches

    Georgia Declares Emergency as Hurricane Florence Approaches

    However, there is also a risk of inland flooding as parts of North Carolina could receive 40 inches (1m) of rainfall. Florence is bearing down with such strength that forecasters say she may literally reshape the Carolina coastline.
    The Nintendo Switch just became a Final Fantasy machine

    The Nintendo Switch just became a Final Fantasy machine

    In addition, Square Enix also said that Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon , the 2007 Wii game, will also come to Switch. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD is now available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
    Despite Finals loss, Mystics have a lot to be optimistic about

    Despite Finals loss, Mystics have a lot to be optimistic about

    Alysha Clark finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for the Storm, and veteran Sue Bird finished with 10 points and 10 assists. Emma Meeseman for starters will be a huge boost when she returns next season. "We had a great season", Delle Donne made clear.