European Court on Human Rights Bought Spy Agencies’ Spin on Mass Surveillance
2021 – The Strasbourg highest human rights court this week affirmed what we’ve long known, that the United Kingdom’s mass surveillance regime, which involved the indiscriminate and suspicionless interception of people’s communications, violated basic human rights to privacy and free expression. We applaud the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Grand Chamber, the court’s highest judicial body of the Council of Europe, for the ruling and for its strong stance demanding new safeguards to prevent privacy abuses beyond those required by the lower court in 2018.
Yet, the landmark decision, while powerful in declaring UK mass interception powers unlawful and failing to protect journalists and employ safeguards to ensure British spy agency GCHQ wasn’t abusing its power, imprudently bought into spy agency propaganda that suspicionless interception powers must be granted to ensure national security.
The case at issue, Big Brother Watch and Others v. The United Kingdom, was brought in the wake of disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who confirmed that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ were routinely spying on hundreds of millions of innocent people around the globe. A group of more than 15 human rights organizations filed a complaint against portions of the UK’s mass surveillance regime before the ECHR.
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2016 – UK journalists slam Russia for Big Brother spying laws – but keep quiet as same laws get passed in UK. Has mainstream media been told by London and Washington to steer clear of reporting on new spying legislation in the UK, which even Edward Snowden calls “scary”?