Privacy International v. Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office et al. (UK Mass Surveillance / UK-US Intelligence Sharing)
Investigatory Powers Tribunal
Case No. IPT/13/92/CH
Status: On Appeal
In July 2013, Privacy International filed a complaint before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), challenging two aspects of the United Kingdom's surveillance regime revealed by the Snowden disclosures: (1) UK bulk interception of internet traffic transiting undersea fibre optic cables landing in the UK and (2) UK access to the information gathered by the US through its various bulk surveillance programs. Our complaint argues that both UK bulk interception and UK access to US bulk surveillance violate Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which respectively protect the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression. The complaint further argues that the UK bulk interception program violates Article 14 ECHR by discriminating against non-UK nationals.
Nine other NGOs (American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Bytes for All, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Legal Resources Centre, Liberty) submitted similar complaints and the IPT subsequently joined the cases.
In December 2014, the IPT held that both UK bulk interception and UK access to US bulk surveillance were lawful in principle. In February 2015, the IPT determined that the UK access to US bulk surveillance was unlawful prior to the IPT's December 2014 judgment because the legal framework governing such access was secret. In June 2015, the IPT found that the UK Government had conducted unlawful surveillance on two NGO claimants – Amnesty International and the Legal Resources Centre.
In March 2015, Privacy International, together with the nine other NGOs in the joined cases, filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights, challenging the IPT's findings.
How Bulk Interception Works (30 Sept. 2016)
Five Eyes integration and the law (22 April 2015)
Snowden vindicated: The truth about raw intelligence sharing (29 Oct. 2014)
What to Know: GCHQ on Trial (14 July 2014)
Privacy International Special Report: Eyes Wide Open (26. Nov. 2013)
The Five Eyes Fact Sheet (26 Nov. 2013)
Privacy International and nine other human rights organizations pursue landmark case at European Court of Human Rights directly challenging UK and US mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden (30 Sept. 2016)
Court says GCHQ spied on human rights NGOs, acted unlawfully (22 June 2015)