12:42 GMT13 August 2020
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    Regulation of UK government surveillance is "an inadequate mess" and requires serious reconsideration, Amnesty International said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Regulation of UK government surveillance is "an inadequate mess" and requires serious reconsideration, Amnesty International said Thursday, commenting on the UK Parliament's Intelligence for Security Committee (ISC) report on mass surveillance in Britain.

    The ISC published a landmark report earlier on Thursday, which revealed that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had to intercept large amounts of information in communication networks "in order to uncover threats — whether that might be cyber criminals, nuclear weapons proliferators or ISIL terrorists."

    The ISC noted, however, that the United Kingdom's surveillance legislation is "unnecessarily complicated" and should be unified under a new, single law.

    "The regulation of government surveillance is an inadequate mess and the ISC is right that it needs a complete overhaul," Rachel Logan, Amnesty International UK's Legal Programme Director, said in a statement.

    According to Logan, GCHQ violated the law twice this year and a few weeks ago security agencies accepted in court that it broken the law in the way that it had dealt with "confidential communications between lawyers and clients."

    Logan added that collecting data to counter terrorist activity is justified, as it is a priority of any government to protect its citizens, however, it is also necessary to make sure that "surveillance measures don't ride roughshod over the rights of the very people they're supposed to protect."

    Reports on GCHQ's spying activities first emerged in 2013 after a US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing that GCHQ together with the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States was engaged in illegal mass surveillance and interception of online and communications data.

    In February, the UK's top intelligence court ruled that GCHQ's access to surveillance data collected by NSA was in violation of a European privacy convention.

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    Tags:
    surveillance, Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), Amnesty International, United Kingdom
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