The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK and Sweden violated a key human rights convention with their surveillance regimes.
This is reported by “EUR News” with reference to Politico.
In two separate rulings, the ESPL said the countries mass surveillance regimes did not meet “ end-to-end safeguards” to ensure proper verification of interception operations.
The court found that there is no independent monitoring body in the UK that verifies wiretapping permits. It says that the country’s laws also do not protect the rights of journalists to confidentiality with sources. The British case was brought by the human rights group Big Brother Watch in 2013 after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed surveillance operations in the UK.
The decision on the UK regime could complicate the EU’s upcoming decision to allow the flow of personal data to the UK.
In February, the European Commission approved a data transfer agreement declaring the UK’s data protection regime to be “virtually equivalent” to European standards and allowing personal data to continue to be transmitted across the English Channel.
But the European Parliament formally objected to the decision earlier this month, saying British data protection standards were insufficient. The EU’s national data control authorities have also expressed reservations, and their concerns are likely to be reinforced by the ESPL’s decision.
The court also found that the mass interception regime in Sweden does not allow us to assess whether the exchange of data with other countries guarantees confidentiality.
“Surveillance actions play a vital role in ensuring our security, but they must be conducted with strong guarantees of privacy and other basic rights,” said Fredrik Bergman, who heads the Swedish human rights group that filed the complaint.