United Kingdom mass surveillance broke human rights convention, European court rules

United Kingdom mass surveillance broke human rights convention, European court rules

In a 6-1 vote Thursday, the seven-judge European Court of Human Rights ruled the "bulk interception regime" breached privacy and compromised journalists and their sources and violated parts of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A 6-1 vote also saw the court rule that the UK's regime for obtaining communications data from service providers "was not in accordance with the law", and the ECHR said there were "insufficient safeguards" for journalistic material in the United Kingdom government's policy.

The court is not a European Union institution and is instead part of the Council of Europe, a 47-member state organisation based in Strasbourg, which Britain is not leaving after Brexit.

The Court's ruling isn't yet final: A Chamber judgement can be referred to the Grand Chamber any time within three months of its issuance, upon which a panel of five judges will decide whether the case merits further examination: If it does, it will be re-heard for a final judgement; if not, the Chamber judgement becomes final.

The court found that Britain's bulk interception regimes, as revealed by Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency whistleblower, were untargeted and lacked oversight and that safeguards were not "sufficiently robust to provide adequate guarantees against abuse".

The case was brought to the ECHR in 2013, following Edward Snowden's revelations that GCHQ was secretly collecting, storing and analysing the private communications of millions of British citizens.

"In view of the potential chilling effect that any perceived interference with the confidentiality of journalists' communications and, in particular, their sources might have on the freedom of the press, the Court found that the bulk interception regime was also in violation of article 10". 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.

More news: Trump Accuses Democrats of Altering Statistics on Hurricane Deaths in Puerto Rico
More news: Hurricane Florence: Your guide to the story
More news: NASA shared these chilling images of Hurricane Florence from space

But that argument doesn't convince critics of the Investigatory Powers Act - legislation which those opposed to it have previous labelled as "the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy". "There must be a public interest which overrides the vital right to journalistic free speech before officials can scrutinise such material". 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. A government spokesperson told The Independent it "will give careful consideration to the Court's findings".

"This includes the introduction of a "double lock" which requires warrants for the use of these powers to be authorised by a secretary of state and approved by a judge".

"We will push on with our High Court challenge against the Investigatory Powers Act and I'm sure we'll draw on the judgement of today to explain why it means that act is also unlawful", she added.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said the ruling is vindication for Snowden.

Founders of the Bureau David and Elaine Potter backed the case.

"That really doesn't hold much water", said Paul Bernal, Lecturer in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law in the UEA School of Law in response to the government claim that the new regime solves the problems of the old one.

Related Articles

  • Declassified the name of the largest Apple iPhone 2018

    Declassified the name of the largest Apple iPhone 2018

    Instead, a recent report from 9to5Mac insisted the Cupertino-based company could be planning to call the device iPhone Xs Max . The iPhone Xs Max will essentially replace the 'Plus' models in the previous iterations.
    Ryan Thomas wins Celebrity Big Brother 2018

    Ryan Thomas wins Celebrity Big Brother 2018

    Thomas appeared on Channel 5's The Jeremy Vine Show on Wednesday where he viewed the footage for the first time. The former Coronation Street actor was shown footage of himself crying over the accusations in the Diary Room.

    Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast — WHAT’S HAPPENING

    And the more it hovers just off shore - a distinct possibility - the more potentially deadly storm surge it pushes on-shore. A man runs past a mandatory evacuation sign before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina .
  • BMW Championship Purse: How Much Does the Winner Make?

    BMW Championship Purse: How Much Does the Winner Make?

    And then in a playoff, his 5-foot par putt missed to the left, making Keegan Bradley a victor for the first time in six years. Woods, coming back from injury, made the Tour Championship for the first time since 2013. "Nice to be back without pain".
    Dairy consumption can help lower rates of cardiovascular diseases

    Dairy consumption can help lower rates of cardiovascular diseases

    The findings are consistent with previous meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials, according to the researchers.

    FDA Considering Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes

    The agency said it continues to check retail stores that sell tobacco, to ensure they are in compliance with federal laws. Gottlieb's action drew immediate praise from a major tobacco-control organization, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
  • Unai Emery demands 'personality' from Arsenal players - Premier League 2018

    Unai Emery demands 'personality' from Arsenal players - Premier League 2018

    Arsenal will look to make it three wins in a row when they take on Newcastle United at St James' Park on Saturday afternoon. All players have returned from global duty with their national teams in good health and are available for selection.
    Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup

    Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup

    According to a report from Chinese outlet Kanka News , the market value of Xiabu Xiabu has been on a downward trend since August. Many were shocked and disgusted by this story - grossed out by the photos that circulated on Weibo. "I feel like vomiting".
    Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang region facing arbitary detentions: Human Rights Watch

    Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang region facing arbitary detentions: Human Rights Watch

    It isn't the first time the Chinese government has been accused of oppressing minorities in Xinjiang or other parts of the country.
  • Alli and Lloris to miss Liverpool match, Poch discusses Lloris drink-driving

    Alli and Lloris to miss Liverpool match, Poch discusses Lloris drink-driving

    Michel Vorm will deputise for captain Lloris, who this week pleaded guilty to drink-driving in London and was fined £50,000. Lloris' injury seems to be the worse of the two as he's expected to be out several weeks.
    Rock slide in Zakynthos, one woman injured, three feared missing

    Rock slide in Zakynthos, one woman injured, three feared missing

    The rock's weight drove waves on to the crowded beach , Mr O'Connell said, as families scrambled to safety. The woman's husband and two children were hospitalized with minor injuries .
    Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD for Switch launches today

    Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD for Switch launches today

    Both Square Enix and Nintendo underestimated Octopath Traveler , and it went on to sell over 1 million units worldwide . In the meantime, it's also unclear why Final Fantasy 8 wasn't included in the lineup.