A COLLECTION of privacy-aware parties has had more than enough of the UK government and its constant whittling away of liberty and has launched a challenge on human rights grounds over plans to bulk hack overseas.
Privacy International and five global internet and communications services providers have lodged a formal complaint at the European Court of Human Rights as part of their fight against bulk hacking.
The providers are Chaos Computer Club (Germany), GreenNet (UK), Jinbonet (Korea), May First (US) and RiseUp (US)
They might all be quite confident, after all Privacy International has already, thanks to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), got the government to admit that it indulges in hacking. The group now wants to know how far this hacking extends.
"The IPT's decision permits the British government to hack untold numbers of computers devices or networks abroad without any proper legal framework, oversight or safeguards," said Scarlet Kim, legal officer at Privacy International.
"Hacking is extremely intrusive, allowing the hacker to, for example, switch on the webcam of a computer or the mic of a phone without the owner having any idea.
"Allowing the British government to hack therefore sanctions an extraordinary expansion of state surveillance capabilities, with alarming consequences for the privacy and security of many people around the world.
"The European Court of Human Rights has a strong track record of ensuring that intelligence agencies act in compliance with human rights law. We call on the Court to hold GCHQ accountable for its unlawful bulk hacking practices."
The European Court of Human Rights will hopefully settle this issue, and might inform the vague but broad regulatory environment what the UK government has in mind.
"The court case has shown that the secret services interpreted a vague law completely arbitrarily, evading the need for specific warrants and providing no protection for journalists, activists or the general public," added Cedric Knight, technical consultant at GreenNet.
"We are now even more convinced of the need for judicial pre-authorisation and for these sections of the Intelligence Services Act to be clarified. It is regrettable that the failure of the IPT to address the lack of technological or legal limitations on assumed powers has made this challenge necessary." µ
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