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Human Rights court to deliver huge ruling on surveillance


The European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber is preparing to deliver a major ruling on government surveillance tactics, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The court has agreed to review Big Brother Watch v. U.K., a case that already has resulted in condemnation of federal spying from a panel of the court.

Amnesty International explained the case centers on Britain’s “bulk surveillance powers” and will be viewed as a precedent elsewhere.

Amnesty leads a coalition of human rights organizations seeking a definitive judgment that would end bulk interception of communications.

The issue also has been in the courts in the United States, where the bulk interception of cell system data has been challenged.

Lucy Claridge, the director of strategic litigation at Amnesty, said, “The U.K. government’s mass surveillance practices are way beyond the pale … people’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression are not expendable commodities.”

Just months ago, Liberty, Privacy International and Amnesty International were among the 14 rights groups and two individuals that won a landmark victory at the ECtHR. After a five year legal battle, judges found the U.K. surveillance regime revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden was illegal.

Amnesty reported the court’s decision found the historic bulk interception regime violated the right to privacy protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and to free expression, protected by Article 10.

But the privacy groups decided the judgment did not go far enough with regard to the unlawfulness of bulk interception powers and the fundamental shortcomings in inter-state intelligence sharing based on communications intercepts.

They moved to have the court’s Grand Chamber take up the case.

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.