If you thought Americans had it bad with the NSA’s PRISM spying program, the grass isn’t much greener across the pond. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that UK intelligence agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 ran numerous bulk data collection programs for 17 years, many of which violated privacy protections listed in article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
That means these bodies tracked citizens’ Web traffic, email metadata, as well as GPS location and device data without their consent and with barely any oversight. The program was first exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last September.
Those intelligence agencies have also been collecting people’s biographical details, as well as dirt on their financial activities and travel, since 2006.
The GCHQ’s bulk data collection program has since been tweaked to require increased disclosure on its inner workings. But ultimately, it’s going to be hard to Britons to maintain their privacy, what with the misguided Investigatory Powers Bill – which will only enable intelligence agencies to run more such initiatives – set to come into force soon.