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Shared NSA and CGHQ data harvesting and interception illegal in UK

Posted on 08 February 2015 by @patlalrique


gchq antenna station uk

Procedures from [inlinetweet prefix=”@patlalrique” tweeter=”” suffix=””] the program of the British intelligence agency GCHQ dealing with the sharing of bulk data intercepted by the NSA were deemed illegal last friday by a ruling of a secretive UK tribunal[/inlinetweet].

We’ve known since 2013 from the cables whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked that NSA and other Fives Eyes members have been conducting mass-surveillance operation on the internet and on any communication device.

Since 2014, The UK has revised its legal regime concerning intelligence and data gathering to make them compliant with current dispositions in the law regarding privacy. But the decision taken recently by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) was the first time the UK government publicly admitted that these programs actually existed.

Conclusions were that ‘regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law’.

Althought the news doesn’t bring much that we didn’t know yet, it is a small victory of some sort, as we hear another government admitting publicly it conducted illegal national security operation and that for 7 years. The procedures surrounding the joint data collections and analysis of the NSA and The GCHQ were mostly ruled illegal because the public were not aware of the safeguards in place for policing all of this.

gchq surveillance illegal uk

A UK MP even pronounced the word ‘Prism’ and acknowledged its existence because ‘it has been expressly avowed by the executive branch of the US government’.

Of course, The UK government went to the rescue of GCHQ by declaring ‘the judgment will not require GCHQ to change in anyway what it does’, giving us an idea that the coming years will see more spying, not less.

GCHQ released a self-congratulating statement that cloud the actual ruling: ‘We are pleased that the court has once again ruled that the UK’s bulk interception regime is fully lawful’. The agency was talking about last year, once they reworked the law governing electronic surveillance.

However, someone could inform the GCHQ that the ruling was concerning the 7 years PRIOR that change. The GCHQ opinion that it was only a matter of whether there was enough information in the public domain is unvalid. The practice was still deemed illegal because the lack of disclosure was violating human rights.

Many peace and liberty organizations in the UK are judging the ruling and the current laws unsufficient to protect citizens’ rights and privacy and have intentions to pursue the legal fight agains’t the state’s surveillance programs. Read The Guardian article here.


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