GCHQ phone and computer hacking is legal and fine

Spies can even turn your webcam on,Communications ,Privacy ,Security

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GCHQ phone and computer hacking is legal and fine

DIRTY GITS AT GCHQ can legally turn on your PC webcam remotely and use it to see what you get up to at home.

An Englishman’s home is his castle, it is said, but it turns out to be more like a glasshouse as GCHQ can legally swan in at any time and make merry with your communications and systems.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled on Friday that this is cool. We asked GCHQ to confirm and it replied in good time.

A statement published on the GCHQ website welcomes the finding of the tribunal (no surprise there) and uses the good news as grease for other powers. This will add weight to the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, and the ruling has already been seen as an accommodating nod in the direction of approval and acceptance.

“I welcome the IPT ruling and its judgement that a proper balance is being struck between the need to keep Britain safe and the protection of individuals’ privacy. The ability to exploit computer networks plays a crucial part in our ability to protect the British public,” said foreign secretary Philip Hammond.

“Once again, the law and practice around our intelligence and security agencies’ capabilities and procedures have been scrutinised by an independent body and been confirmed to be lawful and proportionate.

“The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill will further strengthen the safeguards for the agencies’ use of these powers, including a new double-lock authorisation process. It will provide our intelligence and security agencies with the powers they need to deal with the serious threats our country faces.”

Privacy International, which was behind the challenge, is understandably disappointed at the ruling that surveillance is A-OK, and will challenge it again.

“The IPT today held that GCHQ hacking of computers, mobile devices and networks is lawful, wherever it occurs around the world. We are disappointed that the IPT has not upheld our complaint and we will challenge its findings,” said Scarlet Kim, legal officer at Privacy International, in a statement .

“Our complaint is the first UK legal challenge to state-sponsored hacking, an exceptionally intrusive form of surveillance. We contended that GCHQ hacking operations were incompatible with democratic principles and human rights standards.

“We further argued that GCHQ, which until these proceedings was hacking in secret, had no clear authority under UK law to deploy these capabilities.”

Privacy International has plenty to challenge. and will invoke European human rights as it pushes this forward through other, hopefully, more receptive, courts.

“We are disappointed by the IPT’s judgement today, which has found government hacking lawful based on a broad interpretation of a law dating back to 1994 when the internet and mobile phone technology were in their infancy,” added Kim. µ

communications, privacy, security