Judge: British Spying Doesn't Violate Human Rights

Illustration for article titled Judge: British Spying Doesnt Violate Human Rights

GCHQ's intelligence gathering practices, which include popping in on your webcam conversations and scanning the web connections of entire nations, do not violate the European Court of Human Rights' safeguards for privacy and free speech.

That's according to the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal, whose judges have been looking into the methods used by the British spying department. While it doesn't give GCHQ a free pass to act however it pleases, it has found the way the spooks headquarters highlights targets and stores the data it collects is within reason.

Amnesty UK and Privacy International, among the civil rights groups that complained, instigating the investigation in the first place, aren't pleased. It will argue that the Tribunal heard GCHQ's arguments in closed hearings, and will be bringing the case to the European Court itself. They fear that the GCHQ is being allowed to police itself, with its own panel determining whether or not its actions are valid. [BBC]

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Image by UK Ministry of Defence


Illustration for article titled Judge: British Spying Doesnt Violate Human Rights

This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.

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DISCUSSION

The demand for the average computer/internet user to encrypt and use encrypted web services has never been higher.

In general, the casual internet law-breaker will have no safeguards in place to prevent detection or prosecution. A lack of demand or necessity will make more secure methods niche and difficult to the average person to implement. For the more advanced internet law-breakers, such safeguards are much harder to come by and often home-brew solutions that work moderately, at best. In the end, it's fairly easy for the police to do their job.

Of course, in a society where the average citizen needs DoD-level encrypted secure lines just to wish granny a Merry Christmas, NSA-blocking secure software is everywhere. Every citizen knows/thinks they are being monitored on the internet, and it's such policy that supports this claim. Everybody is security conscious; the threat of warrant-less police searches and spying is enough to spook everyone into becoming more secure. The end result is that police now have a harder time doing their job, even when they can get a warrant.