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Iran Press TV

Internet providers take UK spy agency to court

Iran Press TV

Wed Jul 2, 2014 5:21PM GMT

Seven Internet service providers in six countries have filed a legal complaint against the British spy agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), over its mass surveillance.

The Internet providers said in a statement on Wednesday that the aim of the legal complaint is to prevent the GCHQ from exploiting their networks to spy on people.

The legal action was taken against the GCHQ by the advocacy group, Privacy International, which teamed up with the seven Internet companies from Britain, the United States, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, South Korea and Germany.

The British spy agency is accused of using a malicious software program to break into networks and collect data on users.

The alleged attacks were 'illegal,' and 'destructive' and 'damage the trust in security and privacy that makes the Internet such a crucial tool of communication and empowerment,' said Privacy International.

The group added that such acts put Internet organizations and their users at risk of being targeted.

The claim was filed at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London, which investigates complaints against British intelligence agencies and follows reports of mass government surveillance by US whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

Classified documents leaked by Snowden in June 2013 revealed that the GCHQ was secretly accessing the network of cables that carry the world's phone calls and Internet traffic and had been sharing the data with the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The leaked documents also showed Britain has been operating a covert listening post in the German capital, Berlin, within a stone's throw of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, and the offices of Chancellor Angela Merkel, using hi-tech equipment housed on the British Embassy roof.

Meanwhile, this is not the first legal action lodged by Privacy International. The group has filed two related cases, the first against the British government over its mass surveillance program and the second against GCHQ's alleged hacking of computers and mobile phones.


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