You can read 9 more articles this month
THE government’s mass surveillance powers – including the interception of the private information of the entire British population – are unlawfully wide, the High Court heard today.
Human rights group Liberty is bringing a second legal challenge against parts of the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) which allow intelligence agencies to obtain and store communications data and take remote control of electronic devices through “bulk hacking.”
Liberty claims that the government’s powers under IPA – dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” by critics – are too wide, and therefore breach citizens’ human rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
At the start of a week-long hearing in London today, the group’s barrister Martin Chamberlain QC explained that IPA “provides for a wide expansion of ‘bulk’ secret surveillance powers.”
He said: “These powers permit the interception or obtaining, processing, retention and examination of the private information of very large numbers of – in some cases – the whole population.
“They also permit serious invasions of journalistic and watchdog organisations’ materials and lawyer-client communication.”
He told the court that intelligence agencies could intercept data which “shows, for example, that an individual has accessed a website containing information about sexual health or abortion or suicide,” adding that such information, once stored, “would be searchable without a warrant.”
Mr Chamberlain also pointed to the “inherent dangers” of bulk hacking powers, by which the intelligence services could take “remote control of a device, for example, to turn mobile phones with cameras into recording devices ... or to log keystrokes to capture passwords.”
He warned that vulnerabilities which have been built into software to allow law enforcement access caused “real and significant risks” that third parties could exploit.
Liberty’s case is supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which argues that there are insufficient safeguards to protect confidential journalistic sources.
Jude Bunting, representing the NUJ, argued in written submissions that there were “inadequate safeguards” to protect journalistic communications.
He added that this could have “a significant chilling effect on the exchange of information between journalists and their sources.”
Sir James Eadie QC, representing Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, submitted that the powers provided by IPA “strike an appropriate balance between security and individual privacy.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.