The mysterious Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which oversees Blighty’s snoops, has ruled that the bulk collection of personal data — conducted by GCHQ and MI5 between 1998 and 2015 — was illegal.
Responding to a claim brought by Privacy International, the 70-page judgment handed down this morning [PDF] found that the spooks’ surveillance activities had been taking place without adequate safeguards or supervision for over a decade; and as such were in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
There are huge risks associated with the use of bulk communications data. It facilitates the almost instantaneous cataloguing of entire populations’ personal data. It is unacceptable that it is only through litigation by a charity that we have learnt the extent of these powers and how they are used.
The public and Parliament deserve an explanation as to why everyone’s data was collected for over a decade without oversight in place and confirmation that unlawfully obtained personal data will be destroyed.
One win for transparency. Will the UK gov care? Doubt it.