EUROPEAN CIVIL RIGHTS WATCHDOG the Council of Europe has written to the UK home secretary about surveillance and media rights, and has demanded an explanation of recent events.
The letter comes not after revelations surfaced that the UK is both a net and a sieve for personal data and communications. It swiftly followed David Miranda's extended interview at Heathrow airport and a visit by hammer wielding GCHQ agents to the offices of The Guardian newspaper.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland asked UK Home Secretary Theresa May for an explanation of how deeply the UK is involved in internet surveillance.
Included in the letter are questions about Edward Snowden, David Miranda and the smashing of journalists' computers.
"This detention was apparently linked to the Guardian's publication of stories based on documents leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. The second was the reported destruction of computer hard drives at the Guardian, apparently under the instruction of government officials," he said.
"These measures, if confirmed, may have a potentially chilling effect on journalists' freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. I would therefore be grateful to you if you could provide information on these reports and comment on the compatibility of the measures taken with the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention."
Yesterday David Miranda won the right to protect his communications from UK law enforcement agencies. The Home Office said that it was pleased that the matter was being handled carefully. µ
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