UK surveillance laws in breach of human rights

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that UK laws enabling mass surveillance violate the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Judges found that:

  • The UK’s historical bulk interception regime violated the right to privacy protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and to free expression, protected by Article 10.
  • The interception of communications data is as serious a breach of privacy as the interception of content, meaning the UK regime for bulk interception of communications data was unlawful.
  • The UK’s regime for authorising bulk interception was incapable of keeping the “interference” to what is “necessary in a democratic society”.

The ruling comes as part of a five-year challenge to the UK’s broad and intrusive spying powers, which were first revealed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

Three years ago, this same case forced the UK Government to admit GCHQ had been spying on Amnesty.

The case was brought by Amnesty International, Liberty, Privacy International and 11 other human rights and journalism groups – as well as two individuals – based in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

You can read more here.

 

 

 

Image credit: Francois Schnell, Flickr