Rights Group Files Legal Complaint Over Bulk Data Spying in UK

Rights Group Files Legal Complaint Over Bulk Data Spying in UK © Flickr/ Philippe Put

03:02 08.06.2015(updated 03:21 08.06.2015) Get short URL
http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150608/1023068630.html

A London-based human rights charity Privacy International filed a legal complaint demanding an end to the bulk collection of phone records in the United Kingdom.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A London-based human rights charity filed a legal complaint Monday demanding an end to the US Patriot Act-style bulk collection of phone records in the United Kingdom.

Privacy International’s complaint, filed in the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a court looking into conduct of various public bodies, is the first legal action in the country to challenge the use of “bulk personal datasets.”

In March, a report by a UK parliamentary committee confirmed that the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) habitually acquired large datasets varying in size “from hundreds to millions of records.”

“The use of these databases, some volunteered, some stolen, some obtained by bribery or coercion, have already been abused, and will continue to be, until the practice is overhauled, and proper protections put in place,” Privacy International Deputy Director Eric King said.

He added that the bulk collection practices were used without a proper legal framework, which put UK intelligence agencies “above the law.”

“Bulk collection of data about millions of people who have no ties to terrorism, nor suspected of any crime is plainly wrong,” King said.

The charity compared the bulk collection of databases in the United Kingdom to the now defunct provisions of the controversial US Patriot Act that authorized mass surveillance of US citizens.

The provisions, which were first enacted in 2001 in the wake of September 11 terrorist attacks, expired on June 1 and were replaced with the US Freedom Act that limits, but does not entirely bar, intelligence agencies from bulk data collection.

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