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United Kingdom: Court hearing on ‘Snowden’ bulk interception of external communications

Later today, a hearing opens at Strasbourg’s European Court into three complaints against the United Kingdom, triggered by the leak of the electronic surveillance information by Edward Snowden.

Today’s hearing at the European Court of Human Rights  centres on the cases of Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 58170/13),Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Alice Ross v. the United Kingdom (no. 62322/14) and 10 Human Rights Organisations and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 24960/15).

The complaints concern the bulk interception of external communications by the United Kingdom intelligence services, and the sharing of intelligence between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The hearing will be broadcast from 2.30 p.m. on the Court’s Internet site.

 The applicants in all three cases believe that, because of the sensitive nature of their activities, their communications may have been intercepted by either the United Kingdom or the United States’ intelligence services.

Big Brother Watch and Others v. the UK is a case brought by three non-governmental organisations based in London and an academic based in Berlin, all of whom work internationally in the fields of privacy and freedom of expression; Big Brother Watch is in particular a vocal critic of excessive surveillance.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Alice Ross v. the UK is a case brought by a media organisation and one of its reporters, Alice Ross. Their investigations often touch upon national security issues, such as drone warfare.

10 Human Rights Organisations and Others v. the UK is a case brought by ten human rights organisations which have regular contact with NGOs, politicians, journalists, lawyers, victims of human rights abuses and whistle-blowers, both nationally and internationally.

The information contained in their communications frequently includes material which is sensitive and/or confidential.

 

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