Human Rights Watch Sues GCHQ For Unlawful Surveillance

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Human Rights Watch (HRW)  has filed a complaint against UK government spy agency GCHQ for unlawful surveillance of its communications.

The complaint lodged by the rights group and three anonymous individuals to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), alleges its rights had been violated by the Government Communications Headquarters in intercepting, using, and retaining its communications and in particular, sharing them with the US National Security Administration (NSA).

RT reports: The suit comes in the wake of the IPT’s February ruling which found that dragnet surveillance data sharing prior to December 2014 between the two counterpart agencies breached European human rights law. However, the tribunal noted that data sharing since then is completely legal in light of the public disclosure of the program.

In June, the IPT also ruled that GCHQ also unlawfully retained communications data belonging to Amnesty International.

The findings confirmed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s claims. In April 2013, Snowden told a European parliamentary hearing that the NSA was spying on human rights organizations and NGOs as part of its dragnet of mass surveillance program.

“If GCHQ has been collecting Amnesty International’s communications, it is nearly certain that ours have been intercepted as well,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch, commenting on the suit.

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