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UK's intelligence agency faces legal complaint [Anadolu Agency (Turkey)]
[July 02, 2014]

UK's intelligence agency faces legal complaint [Anadolu Agency (Turkey)]

(Anadolu Agency (Turkey) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Seven Internet service and communications providers from around the world accuse the agency of illegally accessing private communications.

The UK's monitoring service GCHQ is facing a legal complaint brought by seven Internet service and communications providers from around the world, accusing the agency of illegally accessing private communications.  The complaint, filed by seven Internet providers based in six different countries -- the U.K., Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, the U.S. and Zimbabwe -- claims that the Government's Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is "targeting, attacking and exploiting" their networks.

The claims arise out of reports -- published by the German weekly Der Spiegel and online publication the Intercept, and revealed by the Edward Snowden leaks -- that GCHQ has conducted targeted operations against Internet service providers to conduct mass and intrusive surveillance.

The organizations lodged the complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, an independent British court, which hears cases on surveillance issues. The claimants say that the British monitoring agency's actions have been destructive and have undermined the 'goodwill' the Internet providers rely on.  The plaintiffs include Riseup, GreenNet, Greenhost, Mango, Jinbonet, May First/People Link, the Chaos Computer Club as well as U.K.-based non-profit Privacy International, which has already filed two other cases against the British monitoring agency.   "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the Internet," Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said in a statement. "These unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately." Cedric Knight, of GreenNet, added in a separate statement, "Snowden's revelations have exposed GCHQ's view that independent operators like GreenNet are legitimate targets for Internet surveillance, so we could be unknowingly used to collect data on our users. We say this is unlawful and utterly unacceptable in a democracy." A GCHQ spokesperson said that they had not yet received any notice of a complaint, and that "all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate." "There is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee," added GCHQ. "The United Kingdom's interception regime is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights." Last month, human rights organizations accused the U.K. government of having devised a legal framework that justifies secretly monitoring all Internet traffic routed through foreign companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

A claim Home Secretary Theresa May denied, saying that the U.K. was not involved in mass surveillance.

Former American intelligence analyst Edward Snowden leaked last year files containing revelations about the scope and nature of the NSA's and GCHQ's surveillance activities around the globe. (c) 2014 Andolu Ajansi Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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