EPIC Files Intervention in Human Rights Court Review of UK Bulk Surveillance Program

April 22, 2019

EPIC has filed a third-party intervention with the European Court of Human Rights in Big Brother Watch v. UK, a case concerning a bulk surveillance program of the British government. Last year the European Court ruled that the communications surveillance regime violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, but stopped short of ruling that bulk surveillance violated the Convention. The human rights groups that brought the case requested referral to the Grand Chamber, a larger panel of judges, and urged the Court to rule mass surveillance incompatible with fundamental rights. After filing a brief in the original case explaining the broad scope of U.S. surveillance, EPIC has now filed a new brief with the Grand Chamber, arguing that the Court should carefully consider UK-U.S. intelligence transfers. U.S. surveillance does not "provide the requisite Article 8 safeguards" and transfer of intelligence to the U.K. "risks circumventing the Convention’s guarantees," EPIC explained. In an article for Just Security, EPIC called the initial ruling against UK surveillance "narrow" but "important."

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