UK Sued for Violating Privacy Laws


Privacy International sued the UK government for violating the privacy of citizens using “servers of global internet companies located in the US such as Google, Facebook or Yahoo.” Computerworld reported that “the expansive spying regime is seemingly operated outside of the rule of law, lacks any accountability, and is neither necessary nor proportionate.”

Privacy International’s suit was filed on July 8, 2013 with two claims:

Firstly, for the failure to have a publicly accessible legal framework in which communications data of those located in the UK is accessed after obtained and passed on by the US National Security Agency through the Prism programme.

Secondly, for the indiscriminate interception and storing of huge amounts of data via tapping undersea fibre optic cables through the Tempora programme.

The relief that Privacy International seeks in its lawsuit are for the following orders:

(i) A declaration that the Secretary of State for the Foreign Office and/or the Secretary of State for the Home office have unlawfully failed to ensure that there is in place a regime which complies with Article 8 and 10 ECHR governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications of individuals located in the UK which have been obtained by US authorities.

(ii) A declaration that the soliciting, receipt, storage and transmission of such information by the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and/or GCHQ is unlawful.

(iii) An order that the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and/or GCHQ will not solicit, receive, store or transmit such information unless and until such activities are governed by a legal regime which satisfies ECHR Art 8 and 10 and will destroy any material unlawfully obtained.

(iv) A declaration that the Tempora operation under which there is blanket interception, search and storage of data passing through fibre optic cables is unlawful and contrary to Article 8 ECHR, Article 14 ECHR, RIPA 2000 and Article 12 TFEU and an order requiring the destruction of any unlawfully obtained material.

(v) An injunction restraining further unlawful conduct.

Interesting turn of events since the EU claims jurisdiction over Google’s servers in the US, and that the UK, and five other EU States, claims that Google’s Privacy Policy violates EU Privacy laws.

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