Ethical ISPs take on UK sigint

Colleagues at GreenNet today announced that they - along with 6 other ISPs and Privacy International - have launched a legal challenge via the Investigatory Powers Tribunal calling for "an end to GCHQ’s attacking and exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain mass access to private communication". The claimants assert that "GCHQ’s attacks on providers are not only illegal, but are destructive, undermine the goodwill the organisations rely on, and damage the trust in security and privacy that makes the internet such a crucial tool of communication and empowerment".

This is the third case pursued by Privacy International in the wake of Edward Snowden's disclosures regarding mass surveillance and computer intrusion by GCHQ - the UK government's military signals intelligence outfit and partner to MI5 and MI6.

Commenting on the case GreenNet's Cedric Knight said "Snowden's revelations have exposed GCHQ's view that independent operators like GreenNet are legitimate targets for internet surveillance, so we could be unknowingly used to collect data on our users. We say this is unlawful and utterly unacceptable in a democracy. Our long established network of NGOs and charities, or simply individuals who value our independent and ethical standpoint, rely on us for a level of integrity they can't get from mainstream ISPs. Our entire modus operandi is threatened by this illegal and intrusive mass surveillance."

The case is the first of its kind and the outcome will be an important marker in the struggle for the right to privacy. In an age where technology provides the means to collect data and traverse boundaries in ways previously inconceivable, how groups, communities and societies respond to these new challenges is vital in steering the relationship between state power and the individual. "Who watches the watchmen?" - we must!

Read the full story at