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UK tribunal says spying techniques exposed by Snowden ‘not unlawful’

December 06, 2014, 4:30 UTC+3 LONDON
The tribunal made the ruling on Friday in a case that rights groups Liberty, Amnesty International and Privacy International brought against the UK government
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© EPA/GIL COHEN MAGEN/POOL

LONDON, December 6. /TASS/. The UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled that the mass surveillance via programs run by US and British intelligence agencies and exposed by Edward Snowden did not breach human rights.

The tribunal made the ruling on Friday in a case that rights groups Liberty, Amnesty International and Privacy International brought against the UK government. They argued that the methods breached article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the right to privacy, and also article 10, which protects freedom of expression.

In a judgment, the panel said: "We have been able to satisfy ourselves that as of today there is no contravention of articles 8 and 10 by reference to those systems. We have left open for further argument the question as to whether prior hereto there has been a breach."

"Technology in the surveillance field appears to be advancing at breakneck speed,” the judgment reads. "All this inevitably creates considerable tension between the competing interests and the Snowden revelations in particular have led to the impression voiced in some quarters that the law permits the intelligence services carte blanche to do what they will. We are satisfied that this is not the case," it says.

Rachel Logan, Amnesty International UK’s legal advisor, said: “The government has managed to bluff their way out of this, retreating into closed hearings, and constantly playing the ‘national security’ card. The tribunal has accepted that approach.”

“We will now appeal to Strasbourg, who might not be as inclined to put their trust in the UK government given what we know so far,” said Logan.

In June 2013, Snowden leaked information on the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret surveillance programs conducted around the world. The whistleblower, who was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property in the US, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. The asylum period was extended for three more years this August.

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