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The GCHQ has won a major court case in defense of its persistent hacking program. Today, the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal declared that the surveillance agency is not in violation of British law, despite a complaint by Privacy International. Launched in the wake of the Snowden revelations, the case alleged that the GCHQ was violating fundamental warrant protections in its persistent surveillance actions. In December, the case made headlines when it led the GCHQ to admit to its persistent hacking programs for the first time.
GCHQ first avowed the use of hacking in February 2015, when the Secretary of State released a draft Code of practice in response to our legal challenge. Previously secret documents, and witness statements produced by GCHQ now reveal and confirm:
* GCHQ confirmed that the Secretary of State does not individually sign off on most hacking operations abroad, but only when "additional sensitivity" or "political risk" are involved [Witness Statement of Ciaran Martin, paras 65, 72C].
* Overseas hacking does not require authorisations to name or describe a particular piece of equipment, or an individual user of the equipment [Witness Statement of Ciaran Martin, para 56].
* The Commissioner only formally reviewed the individual targets of GCHQ hacks overseas in April 2015 [Witness Statement of Ciaran Martin, para 71I].
* The Intelligence and Security Committee Report in March 2015 called MI5's and SIS's failure to keep accurate records of their overseas hacking activities "unacceptable", [ISC report, p.66] as it makes effective oversight impossible [Witness Statement of Ciaran Martin, 71L].
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, introduced partly in response to the decision in R v Gold & Schifreen (1988) 1 AC 1063. Critics of the bill complained that it was introduced hastily and was poorly thought out. Intention, they said, was often difficult to prove, and that the bill inadequately differentiated "joyriding" hackers like Gold and Schifreen from serious computer criminals. The Act has nonetheless become a model from which several other countries, including Canada and the Republic of Ireland, have drawn inspiration when subsequently drafting their own information security laws, as it is seen "as a robust and flexible piece of legislation in terms of dealing with cybercrime”. Several amendments have been passed to keep the Act up to date.
The Government is still looking to push major new spying powers into law, despite a report it commissioned advising that they weren’t needed.
The new powers could include giving Britain’s spying agencies the power to take over a phone remotely and access all of the documents – including text messages and emails – and photos that are stored on it. They will then be able to install software that will allow them to look in on the messages and data of people at any time, according to reports.
...critics say that decision represents a clear break from the principle of necessary and proportionate authorization, which civil rights groups across the world had pushed for in the wake of the Snowden ruling and has basis in a number of national constitutions.
In the ruling, the IPT swept aside those concerns as anachronistic impediments to national security. "Eighteenth Century abhorrence of general warrants issued without express statutory sanction is not in our judgment a useful or permissible aid to construction of an express statutory power given to a Service, one of whose principal functions is to further the interests of UK national security, with particular reference to defense and foreign policy," the ruling reads.
"The security situation for the United Kingdom, presently described as severe, is such that there needs to be the most diligent possible protection.”
originally posted by: Sublimecraft
a reply to: eisegesis
Just like their counterparts in the NSA and ASIO, this is a law that defines the meme of "do as I say, not as I do" and their get-out-of-jail-free-card is that elusive "terrorist" or "potential terrorist" that constitutes their justification to spy on citizens lest "political risk" (read: antiestablishment sentiments) is manifested and the establishments status quo is potentially compromised.
This was a hearing in respect of a claim by Privacy International, and seven IPSs, of which Greennet Limited carries on operations in this country and the other Claimants have customers in this country. The use of CNE by GCHQ, now avowed, has raised a number of serious questions. The Tribunal is satisfied that with the new EI Code, and whatever the outcome of Parliamentary consideration of the IP Bill, a proper balance is being struck in regard to the matters it has been asked to consider.
originally posted by: eisegesis
Well, I don't even live in the UK, but I know what you're going through. Its game over in slow motion.
originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: eisegesis
I do not place any value in this ruling, none what so ever.
Why? Because the establishment is not a fit and proper judge, of what is and is not a violation of our rights, because no member of that establishment, nor any group of members of that establishment, including the judiciary, the parliament, or any body associated with the authorities, can be trusted to be solely, and rigidly obedient to the opinion, the will of the people.
It is we, the people of these isles who should decide if we believe that our human rights are being infringed, not the courts assigned position by the very establishment which seeks to erode our liberty. My rights have been violated, for I believe it is better to risk death, than give my government any more power over me, than it used to have before the Internet, before the social media, before search history and IP addresses became as important as they are today. I gave no permission for my government to remove my privacy, nor that of any other citizen of this nation, and until the people are given the power to choose whether they support the level of data collection, the manner of its collection, the type of data collected, and indeed the people doing the collecting itself, I will never trust that it is being done for our benefit.
Why? Because what benefits me is having at least the pitiful Liberty extended to British subjects officially speaking. I may not carry a sword on my own nations soil. This is wrong. I may not defend my honour with the finality I believe is justified, and this is wrong. I may not insist that my government behave in accordance with the orders and wishes of its people, in all things, and at all times, as they should in a democracy, and this is also wrong. But to have these and many, untold myriad of other problems with government and then have them tell me that I may also expect no privacy, either on the street, or on the web, that there is no area of my life which will remain my own, private, for me to own and sculpt as I see fit, is an absolute travesty, and I do not accept it.
I hope every single whoreson who put this decision together, suffers every last ailment attending to a lack of Liberty, and I hope that while they do they weep at their own folly before they choke on it.