GCHQ Spying On British Citizens Was Unlawful, Rules Court

By Gerald Lynch on at

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has found that GCHQ has been spying unlawfully on British citizens.

The IPT (formed to police the UK government's spy branches) found that GCHQ's access to data originally mined by the NSA was in opposition to human rights laws, failing to acknowledge the reams of information it had procured through the NSA's PRISM and UPSTREAM surveillance programs.

The ruling is an about-turn on the IPT's initial verdict back in December, which stated GCHQ's data mining was indeed lawful. A legal challenge from civil liberties groups Liberty, Privacy International, Amnesty International and Byte for All resulted in today's second, revised decision.

It's the first time in the 15 year history of the IPT that it's ruled against a security agency, and could potentially result in GCHQ being bombarded with requests from citizens to have unlawfully-procured data deleted. [Guardian]