NSA and GCHQ spy programmes face legal challenge - GuardianSubmitted by VietVet4Liberty on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 10:50
The Guardian: Monday 8 July 2013 - The British and US spy programmes that allow intelligence agencies to gather, store and share data on millions of people have been challenged in a legal claim brought by privacy campaigners.
Papers filed on Monday call for an immediate suspension of Britain's use of material from the Prism programme, which is run by America's National Security Agency.
They also demand a temporary injunction to the Tempora programme, which allows Britain's spy centre GCHQ to harvest millions of emails, phone calls and Skype conversations from the undersea cables that carry internet traffic in and out of the country.
Lawyers acting for the UK charity Privacy International say the programme is not necessary or proportionate. They say the laws being used to justify mass data trawling are being abused by intelligence officials and ministers, and need to be urgently reviewed.
Privacy International has submitted a claim to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which is supposed to review all complaints about the conduct of Britain's spy agencies. The organisation hopes for a public hearing and early rulings because of the seriousness of the situation.
The group was prompted into legal action by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden and the leak of top secret papers he gave to the Guardian. This led to a series of stories about the extent of modern-day surveillance and the disclosure of activities that have provoked a worldwide debate about the behaviour of western intelligence agencies.