'The legality of British intelligence services’ mass surveillance programs will be assessed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday. The agencies are accused of breaching the European Convention’s fundamental right to privacy.
The intelligence services face three different cases at the ECHR brought by Big Brother Watch, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and their reporter Alice Ross, and other NGOs.
The court will evaluate the lawfulness of government spy agencies snooping on citizens and sharing personal information with the United States and other foreign governments, something that first came to light thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The UK’s mass surveillance program had in the past been ruled unlawful by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in London as it breached the fundamental right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
GCHQ was also found guilty of spying both on Amnesty International and on South African non-profit Legal Resources, retaining and scrutinizing their data.
One of the cases, brought by 10 different civil rights groups, has already been heard by the IPT and referred to the seven judges in Strasbourg.
The other two cases, brought by Big Brother Watch and the TBIJ and sent directly to the court, involve allegations of the government breaching freedom of expression.'
Read more: MI6, MI5 & GCHQ in court over mass surveillance practices
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