European Court of Human Rights Rules UK Surveillance Violated Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK's surveillance regime, revealed by Edward Snowden, violates human rights set out in the European Convention. In consolidated cases Big Brother Watch v. UK, Bureau of Investigative Journalism v. UK, and 10 Human Rights Organizations v. UK, the Court ruled that the UK surveillance system violated Article 8, the right to privacy, because there were "inadequate" safeguards for selecting the data subject to surveillance. The Court also said "all interception regimes...have the potential to be abused," and that bulk surveillance include safeguards "to be sufficiently foreseeable to minimise the risk of abuses of power." The Court also ruled UK surveillance violated the right of free expression because the law did not sufficiently protect confidential journalistic material. EPIC filed a brief in the case explaining that the US, which transfers intelligence data to the UK, has "technological capacities" enabling "wide scale surveillance" and that US law do not restrict surveillance of non-U.S. persons abroad. EPIC casebook Privacy Law and Society explores a wide range of privacy issues, including recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.


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