Cross-border communications intercepts are all the rage these days, both in terms of the publicity and public debate generated - and by measure of the flurry of international legislative activities in motion to retroactively cloak in legalese the amassing activities that have already been well in place for considerable time among our duteous SIGINT allies - and that as integral piecemeal part of that ol´ jig-saw puzzle we've oft & melodramatically referred to as our Catch-All program.
Of perhaps fleeting interest to some of our readers comes a feebly related judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this week in a case brought by Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and British Irish Rights Watch against the United Kingdom. The judgment found that UK surveillance laws had lacked the necessary clarity and accountability to prevent abuses of power when used to intercept cross-border communications.
According to the EHCR,
[it]does not consider that the domestic law at the relevant time indicated with sufficient clarity, so as to provide adequate protection against abuse of power, the scope or manner of exercise of the very wide discretion conferred on the State to intercept and examine external communications. In particular, it did not, as required by the Court’s case-law, set out in a form accessible to the public any indication of the procedure to be followed for selecting for examination, sharing, storing and destroying intercepted material. The interference with the applicants’ rights under Article 8 (the right to privacy) was not, therefore, “in accordance with the law.”A puniest of victories for privacy advocates - a pebbly bump in the road for CATCH-ALL.