A tribunal ruled on Friday that intelligence sharing between GCHQ and the NSA before December 2014 was not lawful because of a lack of transparency.
his is the first time the secretive Investigative Powers Tribunal, which oversees the actions of the UK’s intelligence services GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, has ever upheld a complaint against an agency and it follows a ruling in December that the UK intelligence operation was not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other civil liberties groups brought the challenge questioning the legality of mass Internet surveillance carried out by the NSA through Prism and Upstream, following revelations from Edward Snowden.
The case focused on Article 8 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which cover privacy and freedom of expression. However, it said the programme is now compliant.
In our judgment the appropriate course is to alter the declaration we were otherwise minded to make as set out in paragraph 23 above in respect of the First Issue, so that the declaration we propose to make would recite that “prior to the disclosures made and referred to in the Tribunal’s Judgment of 5 December 2014 and this judgment” the Prism and/or Upstream arrangements contravened Articles 8 or 10 ECHR, but now comply.
The ruling was welcomed by civil liberties groups.