EDINBURGH, December 8 (Sputnik), Mark Hirst — The United Kingdom’s count ruling, which said that electronic mass surveillance of people’s cellphone and on-line communications was legal, shows that British government disregards the rights of people who they are supposed to be serving, Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir told Sputnik on Monday.
“It is very disturbing when states claim to be based on some sort of democracy values hack their own systems in such a way that they will disregard the rights of the people who they are supposed to be serving,” she said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik.
Jónsdóttir added that the ruling will help British government to conduct cross-surveillance across countries in the framework of a so-called "Five Eyes" system, which refers to the intelligence alliance between the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The above countries are bound by a treaty for joint cooperation on signals intelligence.
“To see the UK head in this direction [of ruling that mass surveillance is legal] is not a surprise because obviously they are part of the five eyes system and it is very important for them to maintain that level of cross-surveillance where the UK will spy on Australian citizens and then hand that over to the Australia Government and vice versa. This is a known tactic and it is absolutely unlawful,” she said.
Jónsdóttir, who is working closely with the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), added that she will be developing a resolution that would secure people’s access to encryption to protect from mass surveillance.
“Also access to encryption should be made more freely available to anyone. I will be putting together a joint resolution that will look into how we can secure these rights, because the IPU is the oldest organization of this kind where Parliamentarians meet from all over the world,” she said.
On Friday, UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) held that the communications surveillance by the UK government is in line with the country's human rights regulations.
The IPT’s ruling followed a suit lodged by Amnesty International and other human rights groups against the UK government following leaks by US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The leaks revealed that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of the United Kingdom together with the US National Security Agency (NSA) were exercising mass surveillance and interception of on-line and communications data.