In a landmark 5-2 vote on Thursday, the ECHR on ruled there is "insufficient oversight" and "inadequate safeguards" over GCHQ's "bulk interception" of its own citizens' records through its controversial Tempora programme, first outed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The UK case, brought by civil liberties, human rights and journalism groups and campaigners, challenged British surveillance and intelligence-sharing practices revealed by Snowden. This was a violation of the Article 8 privacy rights under the Convention, it said.
The court's ruling doesn't mean all bulk data interception by European countries is automatically illegal.
Following the Snowden revelations, the rules were replaced in November 2016 by the Investigatory Powers Act, a new law that effectively puts mass surveillance powers on a statutory footing.
Its ruling said the regime covering acquisition of data from communications service providers breached Article 8 as it was not in accordance with the law.
"The same underlying problems still apply, and the IP Act has most of the same flaws - flaws found to breach fundamental rights", he told ZDNet.
The British government's counsel, James Eadie, said at that time the programmes were necessary in the fight against terrorism. "Furthermore, there were no real safeguards applicable to the selection of related communications data for examination, even though this data could reveal a great deal about a person's habits and contacts". And of particular concern to the court was the lack of any oversight into what Internet traffic was collected or what filters were used to determine which traffic was of interest.
Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas North Carolina , South Carolina , Virginia, and Maryland and Columbia (Washington DC) have all declared states of emergency. Thus, extremely heavy rains, flash floods, high velocity winds, along with a storm surge of over 10 feet is expected.
Judges on the case did not agree with the applicants over issues of sharing the information with foreign governments, ruling there was no evidence of abuse or significant shortcomings.
And in a further victory for the 16 complainants the court ruled that the program provided "insufficient safeguards in respect of confidential journalistic material", violating Article 10 on the convention dealing with freedom of expression and information.
Today's ruling is the latest in a long line that have found against the government's former snooping law, which has since been superseded by the Investigatory Powers Act.
The Guardian noted that the ruling is the first major legal blow to United Kingdom intelligence's bulk interception and surveillance of private messages. The court said it is "satisfied" that British intelligence services take their human rights convention obligations seriously "and are not abusing their powers".
That said access to retained data must only be granted for cases of serious crime, and that authorisation should come from an independent body, not public authorities.
However, the court ruled that GCHQ had not broken European human rights law by using data gathered by USA spies, as the safeguards around those procedures were sufficient.
Subsequently, Britain has changed their surveillance laws since the legal challenge began, the government claims that the new legislation contains more privacy protections.
Saturday, the storm won't even be halfway across SC , forecasters say. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". Both rivers overflowed their banks, flooding homes, stores and streets and trapping many people in their houses.
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It said the hurricane was about 520 miles (820km) southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina , on Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
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The disaster area was expected to get about as much rain in three days as the 1999 Dennis and Floyd storms dropped in two weeks. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.
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The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC .
No deaths have been reported in New Bern , but the situation caused by Hurricane Florence is dire, the mayor said. Meanwhile more than 630,000 homes and businesses were left without power by Friday afternoon.
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Florence plows inland, leaving 5 dead, states flooded
By Friday evening, the centre of the storm had moved to eastern SC , with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour . A gust of 169km/h was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.
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The drugstore closed about 100 locations in mandatory evacuation areas in North Carolina , South Carolina and Virginia. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center while tropical storm-force winds extend 195 miles.