GCHQ’s Tempora surveillance project does not breach human rights, rules tribunal

GCHQ's Tempora is legal under the provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ended a study into the UK’s use of PRISM-style blanket surveillance, ruling that it is legal under the provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

The tribunal found that the kind of surveillance that was revealed by Edward Snowden was legal in principle, but it did not say whether it was justified. The project in question was called Tempora and tapped into telecoms cables.

GCHQ welcomed the ruling, saying that this is the third occasion on which its practices have been officially approved.

“We are delighted that a third independent body has confirmed that GCHQ is not acting within an unlawful regime or seeking to carry out ‘mass’ or ‘bulk’ surveillance,” said a spokesperson.

“The judgement adds to and supports the independent conclusions of the Interception of Communications Commissioner in his 2013 report, and the statement by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament following its investigation into the receipt of intelligence by the UK from the US PRISM.”

However, Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party in the UK, said that the tribunal is limited in its powers and access to information.

“It can only reveal what GCHQ allows it to reveal, so it has zero credibility,” he said.

“The fact remains that the European Court of Justice found that blanket data retention over arbitrary periods violates the right to a private life.

“The point at the end of the day is not GCHQ’s ‘strict legal framework’, it’s whether mass surveillance is right, proportionate and justified. It is not.”

Campaign group Privacy International has already said it will appeal against the findings of the tribunal and said that it will take its complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

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8 December 2014 | 3:17 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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