Unlawful Communication Surveillance of Amnesty International: tip of iceberg

July 2, 2015

An article “BRITISH TRIBUNAL FLIP-FLOPS ON WRONGFUL SURVEILLANCE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL” by Jenna McLaughlin on 2 July 2015 reveals that a British tribunal (Investigatory Powers Tribunal) in charge of investigating public abuse of surveillance admitted that the U.K. government’s spy agency illegally retained communications it swept up from Amnesty International.
Featured photo - British Tribunal Flip-Flops on Wrongful Surveillance of Amnesty International
Amnesty International protest in London by Malcolm Park/Getty

In the e-mail sent to Amnesty late Wednesday, the president of the tribunal said the unlawful retention of communications it had previously said affected an Egyptian group had in fact affected Amnesty. Amnesty International responded understandably with outrage. In a press release, it described the tribunal’s email as a “shocking revelation” that “made no mention of when or why Amnesty International was spied on, or what was done with the information obtained.

The revelation that the UK government has been spying on Amnesty International highlights the gross inadequacies in the UK’s surveillance legislation,” Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary general, said in a statement. He added something even more important:  “If they hadn’t stored our communications for longer than they were allowed to by internal guidelines, we would never even have known. What’s worse, this would have been considered perfectly lawful.” The tribunal did not rule that the U.K. spy agency’s initial interception of communications was unlawful; just that retention rules had been violated.

AI now joins the company of other non-governmental organizations targeted by the Government Communications Headquarters – or GCHQ, the U.K. equivalent of the U.S.’s National Security Agency. Those include Unicef and Médecins du Monde, according to top-secret documents released by The Guardian in December 2013.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/01/gchq-spied-amnesty-international-tribunal-email

IPT Flip-Flops on Unlawful GCHQ Surveillance of Amnesty International.

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