This matter is doubly newsworthy at the moment, as the Conservatives have announced that they are continuing to press ahead with their ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ plan to monitor all your communications.
One rule for us; another rule for them. It’s always the same with Tories.
Theresa May’s government has announced it will attempt to seek exemptions for the UK from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
But … the move comes just as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) – which enforces the ECHR – has launched an investigation into the actions of her own government.
At the Conservative Party conference on 4 October, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon laid out plans to allow the military to opt out of the ECtHR in future conflicts. The measure is a reactionary one, formulated in response to current investigations into UK military actions during the country’s invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
These investigations have cost the Ministry of Defence over £100m since 2004.
Fallon’s announcement follows May’s disclosure on 2 October that, as part of the Brexit deal, the UK will remove itself from being subject to the European Court of Justice (CJEU). The CJEU implements the rules of the EU single market, among other things.
But just as the UK government was revealing these changes, a case was brought against its own security agencies by ten organisations, including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union. The case is being heard at the ECtHR.
Privacy International is also involved in the case – a rights group which initiated a trial against the UK government for illegal snooping with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in July.
The groups assert that the mass surveillance carried out by the UK’s spy agencies constitutes a violation of our fundamental rights. The complaint, which runs to 115 pages, reads:
‘The Applicants contend that the scheme of bulk interception and intelligence sharing operated by the UK is incompatible with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression guaranteed by Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.’
As The Intercept has detailed, the case is the first to be heard by the ECtHR based on evidence leaked by Edward Snowden. The complainants are using the whistleblower’s revelations, first exposed in 2013, as the basis for their arguments.
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