The Unwanted Witness Uganda joins worldwide campaign to discover depth of GCHQ’s illegal spying.
The Unwanted Witness today has joined an international legal campaign to allow anyone in the world to request whether Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ has illegally spied on them.
The platform and legal campaign has been developed in response to a recent court ruling that GCHQ unlawfully obtained millions of private communications from the NSA up until December 2014. This decision allows anyone in the world to ask GCHQ if the individual’s records were unlawfully shared by the NSA.
Individuals who wish to take part in this process can sign up here:
Privacy International intends to collate the inquiries from around the world and submit them to the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Those who have been found to have been illegally spied on can then seek the deletion of their records, including emails, phone records, and internet communications. Given the mass surveillance capabilities of the NSA and GCHQ, and that the agencies “share by default” the information they collect, an unlimited number of people could have been affected by the unlawful spying.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the UK court solely responsible for overseeing intelligence agencies, ruled on 6 February that intelligence sharing between the United States and the United Kingdom was unlawful prior to December 2014, because the rules governing the UK’s access to the NSA’s PRISM and UPSTREAM programmes were secret.
It was only due to revelations made during the course of this case, which relied almost entirely on documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, that the intelligence sharing relationship became subject to public scrutiny.
The decision was the first time in the Tribunal’s history that it had ruled against the actions of the intelligence and security services.
G. W. Ssebaggala CEO of The Unwanted witness notes that;
‘This campaign gives individual citizens and organizations not only in Uganda but all over the world to fight for their privacy rights and the cyber space. Everyone has the right to know what transpired behind his/ her back and those responsible show be called to account. We thus ask everyone to join this move to scale back mass surveillance, left unabated would entrench a culture of impunity”.
Eric King, Deputy Director of Privacy International, said:
“We have known for some time that the NSA and GCHQ have been engaged in mass surveillance, but never before could anyone explicitly find out if their phone calls, emails, or location histories were unlawfully shared between the US and UK. The public have a right to know if they were illegally spied on, and GCHQ must come clean on whose records they hold that they should never have had in the first place.
There are few chances that people have to directly challenge the seemingly unrestrained surveillance state, but individuals now have a historic opportunity finally hold GCHQ accountable for their unlawful actions.”
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