Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Government's mass surveillance of emails was illegal

ECHR Rules British Mass Surveillance Regime Violates European Law			The Associated Press		13 Sep 2018 ECHR Rules British Mass Surveillance Regime Violates European Law The Associated Press 13 Sep 2018
Patty Aguilar | 15 September, 2018, 14:23

BRUSSELS-British intelligence services breached people's basic right to privacy with a mass surveillance operation that was brought to light by the whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on September 13.

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.

Florence knocking on Wilmington's door, remains Category 4 storm
Nathan Deal says the state "is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence ". For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.

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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.

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Just this week, Meghan's sister Samantha took to Twitter to coin a nasty schoolyard nickname for her and attack her yet again. However, a royal source has "strenuously denied" this to The Sun , telling the United Kingdom publication, "It's not her".

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.

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