Privacy International, the leading global privacy rights NGO, has today filed a Judicial Review at the UK High Court, challenging the Investigatory Powers Tribunal's (IPT) decision that the Government can issue general hacking warrants. This decision means that British intelligence agency GCHQ can continue to hack into the computers and phones of broad classes of people - including those residing in the UK. The Investigatory Powers Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, seeks to further enshrine this power into law.
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Previously confidential documents published today reveal the staggering extent of UK Government surveillance that has been kept secret from the public and Parliament for the last 15 years. Revealed in a case brought by Privacy International about the use of so-called 'Bulk Personal Datasets' and a law dating back to 1984, the extracts show that the UK Government's intelligence services, GCHQ, MI5, and MI6, routinely requisition personal data from potentially thousands of public and private organisations.
The committee of data protection regulators across Europe, the Working Party 29, announced today its opinion on the current “Privacy Shield”. The Opinion is expected shortly, and based on the statements made by the Working Party chair in a press conference, we understand that the Working Party, while noting improvements from the annulled “Safe Harbor” agreement, has serious concerns about a range of aspects of the current "Privacy Shield" agreement with the U.S.
Tomorrow (12 April, 2016), Privacy International and Open Rights Group will argue that wholesale and indiscriminate retention of our personal data is not permissible. The case, brought by MPs Tom Watson and David Davis against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA), and in which PI intervened, will be heard in the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on 12 April. It has the potential to send shockwaves through the Investigatory Powers Bill, the controversial bill currently in Parliament.
Today the Investigatory Powers Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons. Instead of listening to negative public response to the Bill, and evolving EU law precedent, the UK Government continues to fully advocate for the Bill's prompt passage through Parliament.
Privacy International Director of Campaigns, Harmit Kambo said:
In his first report to the UN Human Rights Council (the main UN human rights political body composed of 47 states from around the world), the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy has offered a scathing critique on the UK Investigatory Powers Bill. In particular the Rapporteur noted how bulk surveillance powers, including bulk hacking, are disproportionate and violate the right to privacy as established by human rights courts.
Privacy International and Human Rights Watch have submitted a briefing to a US court, arguing that compelling Apple to build new software for the FBI will be a dangerous game changer in the security of the technology we rely on every day. If the FBI wins its case against Apple, it will open the floodgates for governments across the world to make similar demands.
The UK Government has today published the Investigatory Powers Bill which it expects Parliament to pass this year. Three Parliamentary reports reviewed the previous draft and called for clarity, consistency, and coherence. Those recommendations have instead been met with changes that could not even be considered cosmetic, and which mock the parliamentary process. The Government's claim to have redrafted the Bill in-line with privacy protections has amounted to changing the title of Part 1 from "General Protections" in the draft, to "General Privacy Protections" in the published version.
Privacy International today publishes a new investigation, based on exclusive documents, exposing the sale of European surveillance technologies to a secret unit of Egypt's intelligence infrastructure.
In response to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruling today that GCHQ's hacking is lawful, we have issued the following press statement:
"We are disappointed by the IPT’s judgment today, which has found Government hacking lawful based on a broad interpretation of a law dating back to 1994, when the internet and mobile phone technology were in their infancy.