(ANTIMEDIA) — Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the U.K.’s GCHQ spy agency is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights with its mass surveillance programs. The court ultimately found that these activities violate the family and privacy rights of British and European citizens, and this assertion ultimately includes a rejection of the United States’ activities considering GCHQ has obtained much of its data from the NSA.
The suit was brought by Amnesty International, Big Brother Watch, the ACLU, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and other civil liberties groups. It addresses provisions of the U.K.’s 2000 Investigatory Powers Act, and though a new version of the law was passed in 2016 and is yet to be enacted, many of the issues the court identified remain in the 2016 bill.
Though the court stopped short of saying intelligence sharing between agencies like GCHQ, NSA, and members of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance violate the human rights convention, it said “using such intelligence sharing to bypass restrictions on surveillance of a member state’s own citizens would be a violation of the charter,” Ars Technica summarized. (In a 2015 ruling, a U.K. court ruled intelligence sharing did, in fact, violate European law).
The Guardian clarified the ruling, which found some activities are in violation of the charter but maintained others are not:
“By a majority of five to two votes, the Strasbourg judges found that GCHQ’s bulk interception regime violated article 8 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees privacy, because there were said to be insufficient safeguards, and rules governing the selection of ‘related communications data’ were deemed to be inadequate.
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