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Every internet moment scrutinised...

European Court of Human Rights finds that GCHQ's mass snooping violates right to privacy

Link Here24th May 2021
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
GCHQ's methods for mass snooping on online communications violated the right to privacy and the regime for collection of data was not in accordance with the law, the grand chamber of the European court of human rights has ruled.

It also found the bulk interception regime contained insufficient protections for confidential journalistic material but said the decision to operate a bulk interception regime did not of itself violate the European convention on human rights.

The chamber also concluded that GCHQ's regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal.

The judgment is the culmination of a legal challenge to GCHQ's bulk interception of online communications begun in 2013 by Big Brother Watch and others after Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations.

Three judges dissenting from the majority position quoted from Orwell in their statement:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You have to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.

Comment: ECHR's Judgment on UK Govt's Mass Surveillance Program

24th May 2021. See article from

Responding to the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the UK's RIPA regime for bulk surveillance, Jim Killock, the Executive Director of the Open Rights Group and one of the organisations challenging the UK's activities before the European Court of Human Rights, said:

The Court has recognised that Bulk Interception is an especially intrusive power, and that 'end-to-end safeguards' are needed to ensure abuse does not occur.

The court has show that the UK Government's legal framework was weak and inadequate when we took them to court with Big Brother Watch and Constanze Kurz in 2013.

The court has set out clear criteria for assessing future bulk interception regimes, but we believe these will need to be developed into harder red lines in future judgments, if bulk interception is not to be abused.

As the court sets out, bulk interception powers are a great power, secretive in nature, and hard to keep in check. We are far from confident that today's bulk interception is sufficiently safeguarded, while the technical capacities continue to deepen. GCHQ continues to share technology platforms and raw data with the USA.

This judgment is an important step on a long journey.



Cops call for space to breathe...

Police want to ban social media from publishing videos of cops behaving badly

Link Here18th April 2021
The leader of the Metropolitan Police Federation has called for the government and force leaders to tackle social media firms that enable footage of officers dealing with incidents to be shared.

Ken Marsh claimed it was time to end trial by social media:

It's time to step in. We want something done. Officers shouldn't be subjected to this while simply doing their job.

His intervention followed the Independent Office for Police Conduct's latest verdict on a complaint about a stop and search at the height of lockdown which was shared on social media. Their investigation followed incident in May last year when a driver was stopped in Tottenham by officers from the MPS Territorial Support Group (TSG).

The Independent Office for Police Conduct Regional Director Sal Naseem said:

We know that these types of incidents can have a detrimental impact on public confidence in policing, when there is only a partial picture available of what happened.

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