Wednesday

21st Feb 2018

UK confirms it bulk-collected nationals' data

  • UK has been snooping on its own citizens since 2001 (Photo: Theen Moy)

UK authorities on Wednesday (4 November) confirmed British intelligence has been secretly scooping up the emails and telephone records of its own citizens for the past 15 years.

The admission, made by UK’s home secretary Theresa May, came amid a ministerial debate on a new draft UK surveillance bill that gives police and intelligence access to websites visited by people without the need for a warrant.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It was revealed British governments had been giving “secret directions” that required Internet firms to hand over communication data of citizens to UK security agencies such as MI5, reports The Guardian.

May said the new bill is needed to provide a legal basis for surveillance in the larger effort to fight crime and terrorism. She said the law contains oversight provisions to prevent abuse.

“This will ensure that the people who are keeping us safe will have the powers they need but will also have the right oversight arrangements”, she said.

A panel of judges would be given the powers to block spying operations.

But the bill includes proposals that would allow the state to infiltrate devices and sweep up large amounts of data, in moves described by civil liberty defenders as state-sanctioned mass surveillance.

The proposed law would also force Internet firms to help hack phones and other devices.

Police would be able to see websites visited by British citizens, but not the pages viewed or links clicked. May described the web records as the equivalent of an itemised phone bill.

Similar state-sanctioned access powers are banned in Europe and the United States.

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden described in a tweet the UK bill as legitimising mass snooping.

“By my read, #SnoopersCharter legitimizes mass surveillance. It is the most intrusive and least accountable surveillance regime in the West”, he said.

He also dismissed May’s itemised phone bill reference.

He said storing Internet connection records is more like “a list of every book you’ve ever opened."

French court backs mass surveillance

France's top court has given the green light for security services to hack people's computers and phones even if they aren't suspected of any crime.

Greek EU commissioner challenges bribery allegations

Dimitris Avramopoulos says he will mount a legal challenge to reveal the identities of people behind allegations that he, along with other former Greek ministers, had accepted money from a Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

Rights watchdog to visit Turkey over rule of law

The Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is heading to Ankara next week. The trip follows new plans by Ankara to meet EU demands for reforms in areas like anti-terror legislation.

Data privacy chiefs wary of lagging EU states

EU data protection chiefs are worried member states won't be ready when a new wide-sweeping general data protection regulation goes live on 25 May. National laws still need to be passed to ensure data authorities can enforce the regulation EU-wide.

News in Brief

  1. Belgian PM to host 11 EU leaders ahead of summit
  2. Tusk all but rules out pan-EU candidates in 2019 elections
  3. Tusk: EU budget agreed before 2019 elections 'unrealistic'
  4. Commission fines car cartels €546m
  5. Juncker: 'nothing' wrong in Katainen meeting Barroso
  6. Juncker appoints new head of cabinet
  7. MEPs decide not to veto fossil fuel projects list
  8. Factory relocation risks drawing Vestager into Italian election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. 21 February in Brussels
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  9. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  10. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  12. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP

Latest News

  1. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  2. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  3. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund
  4. Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner
  5. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  6. We are not (yet) one people
  7. Intellectual property protection - the cure for Europe's ills
  8. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds