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: Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup
More news: NASA shared these chilling images of Hurricane Florence from space
More news: Hurricane Florence: Five reasons to fear this storm

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

  • State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

    State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

    European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, "Parliament wants, more than ever, to be at the heart of democracy". The vision involves what he calls a "continent-to-continent" free-trade agreement.
    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".
    Tobacco Stocks Jump Following FDA Warning to E-Cig Companies

    Tobacco Stocks Jump Following FDA Warning to E-Cig Companies

    Despite this extensive plan, some of the unelected bureaucrats at the FDA would still like to ban flavored e-cigarette products. Gottlieb said the FDA is rethinking the extension given the explosive growth of e-cigarette use among adolescents.
    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 .
  • 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.
    Meghan Markle birthday well-wishers receive thank you cards from duchess

    Meghan Markle birthday well-wishers receive thank you cards from duchess

    The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has been labelled a "DuchASS" by her half-sister Samantha in her latest rant. Either way, royal fans will still want to look like and dress like Meghan Markle no matter what she steps out in.

    Hurricane Florence: Your guide to the story

    More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.
  • EU to take punitive action against Hungary for flouting rule of law

    EU to take punitive action against Hungary for flouting rule of law

    On Monday night, the opposition Socialist party announced that its two MEPs will vote for the findings of the Sargentini report. According to the official data, 115 EPP deputies voted in favour of the move, while 57 voted against, with 28 abstentions.
    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.
    Advance Australia Fair: Pauline Hanson attacks schoolgirl's anthem protest

    Advance Australia Fair: Pauline Hanson attacks schoolgirl's anthem protest

    Queensland Liberal National politician Jarrod Bleijie, the state's shadow minister for Education, shared similar thoughts. When she refused to do either, the school handed Harper a lunchtime detention for "blatant disrespect".