GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of online communications violated the right to privacy and the regime for collection of data was “not in accordance with the law”, the grand chamber of the European court of human rights has ruled.
It also found the bulk interception regime contained insufficient protections for confidential journalistic material but said the decision to operate a bulk interception regime did not of itself violate the European convention on human rights.
The chamber also concluded that GCHQ’s regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal.
The grand chamber judgment is the culmination of a legal challenge to GCHQ’s bulk interception of online communications begun in 2013 by Big Brother Watch and others after Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations.
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