Grand Chamber of Human Rights Court to Review UK Surveillance

February 5, 2019

The European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber has agreed to review Big Brother Watch v. UK, a case concerning UK surveillance power revealed by Edward Snowden. Last year the Court ruled that the communications surveillance regime narrowly violated human rights, and stopped short of ruling that bulk surveillance violated fundamental rights. The Grand Chamber, a larger panel of judges, has now agreed to hear the case again. The Chamber only agrees to review cases raising important human rights issues. The groups that brought the case requested referral and urged the Court to rule mass surveillance incompatible with human rights. EPIC filed a brief in the original 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. In an article, EPIC called the initial ruling against UK surveillance "narrow" but "important."

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