EU Human Rights Court Finds UK’s Intelligence Agency GCHQ Guilty of Violating Privacy Laws

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ is guilty of violating data privacy rules through their bulk interception of communications.

According to the ECHR, GCHQ’s method did not provide sufficient protections for confidential journalistic material because it gathered the communications in bulk.

The ECHR however clarified that the GCHQ was not guilty of violating the European convention on human rights and that their method for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with other nations was within legal bounds.

“In order to minimize the risk of the bulk interception power being abused, the court considers that the process must be subject to ‘end-to-end safeguards’,” suggested the ECHR.

The ECHR ruling was the decision to the legal challenge against GCHQ’s bulk interception of online communications filed 2013 by Big Brother Watch and other privacy activists after Edward Snowden became a whistleblower.

ECHR Judge Pinto de Albuquerque commented that the ruling had opened the gates for an electronic ‘Big Brother”’ in Europe which echoed the sentiments of two other judges in the court.

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