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Iran Press TV

UK's CGHQ tried to avoid legal challenge over spying: Report

Iran Press TV

Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:2PM GMT

Britain's eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has tried its best to keep leaks over its spying activities under wraps in fear of legal challenge, classified memos reveal.

According to internal documents seen by the daily Guardian, GCHQ has repeatedly warned it fears a 'damaging public debate' on the scale of its surveillance practices because it could lead to legal action against the UK spy agency under the rights to privacy in the Human Rights Act.

Papers leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden showed GCHQ's battle to intercept evidence inadmissible in criminal trials.

The documents also showed that the spy agency had lobbied to hide that telecom firms had gone 'well beyond' their legal obligations in assisting intelligence agencies in their efforts to intercept communications not only in the UK but overseas as well.

The revelations come to light after disclosures that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.

Earlier this month, civil liberties campaigners launched legal action against GCHQ over the alleged breach of privacy of millions of people across the UK and Europe via online surveillance.

The legal challenge came after classified documents leaked by Snowden in June revealed that GCHQ was secretly accessing the network of cables, which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has been sharing the data with its American counterpart, the NSA.

SSM/SS/HE



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