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Legal experts brand NSA and GCHQ surveillance illegal

While the British and US government's have been keen to defend their Tempora and PRISM surveillance programs, it looks like the international community might not feel the same way. After some scrutiny by legal experts at the European Parliament this week, several individuals concluded that the actions of both governments were illegal according to international law.

The best part, is that it isn't even being considered illegal on a technicality, but on a breach of human rights –  a much stronger argument. This was determined by people who should know what they're talking about too, as one judge served on the EU court of human rights for over 15 years, another was an international law professor and yet another was an expert on human rights and counter-terrorism.

The last person on that list, was Martin Scheinin, a UN special rapporteur from 2005 to 2011, who said that he believed the actions of the NSA and GCHQ ammounted to a “massive interference with the privacy rights of EU citizens,” and  that both US and UK governments were currently violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, which states that citizens should not be ““subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with [their] privacy, family, home or correspondence.”

“Oh crap…”

Law professor at the London Metropolitan University also believed that international laws were being broken, stating that: “the kind of surveillance we now know that has taken place is utterly incompatible with the most fundamental rights and data protection principles in the EU.”

The hearing that took place this week to discuss these matters, is set to offer recommendations to the UN within the next few weeks, but many of those involved want to see law chances akin to those taking place in Germany, that prevent this sort of online surveillance. On top of that, some EU member countries may bring legal action against the US and UK over spying accusations.

KitGuru Says: This could be a pretty landmark outcome. While it seemed initially that even though we knew this surveillance was taking place, we couldn't do much about it, now it looks like a lot of people are jumping on the anti-NSA bandwagon and this surveillance program may be stopped in its tracks.

Fingers crossed people. 

[Thanks Slate]

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