Tribunal says Tempora programme is legal

Jennifer Baker reports on The Register website that the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled that GCHQ’s mass surveillance Tempora programme is legal in principle.  It made the ruling following a case brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other parties.

Tempora is the code name given to an operation run by GCHQ to allow huge amounts of intercepted internet data to be temporarily stored for analysis.  It is reported to hold content for three days and metadata for 30 days.  The  case put to the tribunal was that Tempora breached article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the right to privacy, as well as article 10, which protects freedom of expression.

Privacy International deputy director Eric King said of the decision:

“Today’s decision by the IPT that this is business as usual is a worrying sign for us all.  The idea that previously secret documents, signposting other still secret documents, can justify this scale of intrusion is just not good enough, and not what society should accept from a democracy based on the rule of law.”

Privacy International has issued a statement on the ruling which can be found here.