UK Watchdog Files Against GCHQ In European Court Of Human Justice
LONDON â On Friday morning, the London-based internet privacy watchdog Privacy International, along with five other internet rights groups, lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights against the UK Governmentâs use of bulk hacking abroad.
The group, which was founded in 1990 and describes itself as âcommitted to fighting for the right to privacy across the world,â decided to bring the case to ECHR after the UKâs Investigatory Powers Tribunal refused to rule on whether British intelligence organization GCHQâs broad powers under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 section 7 â authorizing any unlawful acts committed abroad â complied with the European Convention of Human Rights.Â Articles 8 and 10 of the Convention require all interference with the human rights to privacy and freedom be âprescribed by law.âÂ The applicationâs co-claimants include internet activist groups GreenNet (UK), Chaos Computer Club (Germany), May First (US), Jinbonet (Korea), and RiseUp (US).
Privacy Internationalâs application follows a Judicial Review they filed in May, challenging the IPTâs decision that the Government can issue âthematicâ warrants, such as one covering âall mobile phones in London.â
Despite this, the GCHQ may bypass articles 8 and 10 through the Investigatory Powers bill (HL Bill 40), which passed the House of Commons in June with 444 votes for and 69 against.Â It is currently in committee in the House of Lords, and is expected to pass.Â Only the Scottish national party and the Green party voted against the bill, dubbed âa Snooperâs billâ by critics.
Tory lawmakers maintain that the GCHQâs hacking powers are consistent with UK laws and the European Convention on Human Rights. Â In the billâs explanatory notes, the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Earl Howe, stated, âin my view the provisions of the Investigatory Powers Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.â
The bill goes on to state that âfurther protections for privacyâ exist âby virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998.âÂ The Human Rights Act 1998 is an adaption of the European Convention of Human Rights.