GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance

Today Big Brother Watch, working with the Open Rights Group, English PEN and German internet activist Constanze Kurz, has announced legal papers have been filed alleging that GCHQ has illegally intruded on the privacy of millions of British and European citizens.

We allege that by collecting vast amounts of data leaving or entering the UK, including the content of emails and social media messages, the UK’s spy agency has acted illegally.

A dedicated website – Privacy not Prism – has been set up to fund the legal action.

The laws governing how internet data is accessed were written when barely anyone had broadband access and were intended to cover old fashioned copper telephone lines. Parliament did not envisage or intend those laws to permit scooping up details of every communication we send, including content, so it’s absolutely right that GCHQ is held accountable in the courts for its actions.

These concerns have also been raised by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, who questioned if the legal framework is adequate.

When details recently emerged in the media about the Prism and Tempora programmes, codenames for previously secret online surveillance operations, it was revealed that GCHQ has the capacity to collect more than 21 petabytes of data a day – equivalent to sending all the information in all the books in the British Library 192 times every 24 hours. The disclosures have raised serious parliamentary concerns both in Britain and at the EU level.

Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors represent the applicants, instructing Helen Mountfield QC of Matrix Chambers and Tom Hickman and Ravi Mehta of Blackstone Chambers.

 

18 Comments

  1. Wonks Take Spooks to Court - Guy Fawkes' blog
    3rd October 2013

    […] three campaign groups filed papers accusing them of breaching the privacy of British citizens. Big Brother Watch, the Open Rights Group and English PEN have brought the action against the government at the […]

    Reply
  2. GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance --via Big Brother Watch - Techbeast.net
    3rd October 2013

    […] via GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance | Big Brother Watch. […]

    Reply
  3. Pete
    3rd October 2013

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    Reply
  4. Just who has your data? | B.A.T. '66
    5th October 2013

    […] GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance […]

    Reply
  5. John
    7th October 2013

    If this case succeeds, which in my opinion it should, then it will set a precedent around the world. I made a donation and will be following your progress.

    Reply
  6. Fighting Spies: Public Services in Europe Keep Moving to Free/Open Source Software | Techrights
    7th October 2013

    […] GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance […]

    Reply
  7. Anonymous
    8th October 2013

    3 Comments here, yet I only see one? strange?

    Reply
  8. Robert
    8th October 2013

    You’ve got my support all the way. It’s getting more and more ridiculous and infuriating how our right to privacy is being eroded. In a supposedly free country.

    The govt needs to be held accountable for this.

    Also you just know from past experience that they’re too incompetent to keep this data secure.

    Reply
  9. Andrew Paul
    13th October 2013

    Hope these scum are held accountable. So now they want to sensor our free press over a few journos listening to a few voicemails??yet these scum can do all this to everyone and not face any punishment?? makes me sick. I’m still using TOR so its not been cracked yet…at lease i hope not…little 80mg TOR defeats the Billions of £ and $ at gchq and nsa, find it hard to belive but i’d be loving it if TOR has really resisted these scum attacks.

    Reply
  10. Luke
    28th October 2013

    Keep fighting! If decent, ordinary people can be spied on like this then Democracy is dead. Why do they need all this info.? And why are they keeping it? Suppose for a minute that this mass surveillance turns up a lead on a “Terrorist” (we only have the spies & Government’s word that that is what they are, & we know what their word is worth!) looking through all that stored data for links is going to be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. This about civil control & manipulation (much like organised religion has been used in the past). Never stop fighting for your freedom & your rights!

    Reply
  11. Actions légales contre écoutes illégales — ms-studio.net
    4th November 2013

    […] PEN (association des écrivains), ainsi que l’informaticienne allemande Constanze Kurz, déposent plainte contre les actions illégales de l’agence anglaise […]

    Reply
  12. Anonymous
    21st February 2014

    They spy on WikiLeaks visitors too.

    Wild West style spying has to end.

    Reply
  13. GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance – Big Brother Watch | Beat the rich
    29th April 2014

    […] The laws governing how internet data is accessed were written when barely anyone had broadband …read more […]

    Reply
  14. GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance – Big Brother Watch « Truth Is Rising
    29th April 2014

    […] GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance – Big Brother Watch […]

    Reply
  15. ‘British secret police spying on Parliament’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog
    5th May 2014

    […] GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance […]

    Reply
  16. Micah
    7th June 2014

    None of us are free. We don’t live in a free society while we live under surveillance.

    This is NOT a free country.

    Reply
  17. Big Brother Watch: Surveillance Transparency Is Now … – News4Security
    17th July 2014

    […] Villain 2014 was NSA/GCHQ. On accepting the award, we noted that Big Brother Watch currently has legal papers filed in the EU Court of Human Rights alleging that GCHQ has illegally intruded on the privacy of millions of British and European […]

    Reply
  18. BARRY
    27th November 2014

    THERES GOOD IN THE WORLD,AND THEN THIER IS EVIL.SAY NO MORE.

    Reply

Leave a Reply