The British government may be doing its best to ignore the surveillance scandal, despite the relatively full official response it’s elicited over in the U.S., but thanks to a coalition of privacy campaigners it seems the tactic won’t work for much longer.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has asked the government to justify the legal grounding and proportionality of its intelligence services’ mass surveillance activities. The coalition that prompted this, Privacy Not Prism, takes in a variety of other UK activist groups, including Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, and English PEN, as well as German campaigner Constanze Kurz, a spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club.
Through the wall
Frustrated by the brick wall hit by Privacy International in its case over at the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a secret court that supposedly acts as an intelligence watchdog, Privacy Not Prism skipped the IPT last October and went straight to the ECHR. The coalition complained that its members had probably been subject to generic surveillance by UK spy agency GCHQ and/or by the NSA, and that there wasn’t a proper legal basis for this.
On Friday Privacy Not Prism announced that the ECHR...