Privacy campaigners sue UK spy agency over 'unlawful hacking'

Stuart O'Connor Computer Security, Privacy Leave a Comment

Privacy International has filed a legal complaint against the British government in a bid to stop the intelligence service GCHQ from hacking into devices to gather information.

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The privacy campaign group claims that millions of devices have been infected by GCHQ in Britain with malicious software to keep an eye on citizens and collect their personal data.

According to the Guardian, a legal challenge lodged on Tuesday at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which regulates UK surveillance laws, calls for the hacking techniques – alleged to be far more intrusive than interception of communications – to be outlawed. Mobile phones were also targeted, leaked documents reveal.

The Guardian says the 21-page submission details a host of “malware” – software devised to take over or damage another person’s computer – with such esoteric names as Warrior Pride, Gumfish, Dreamy Smurf, Foggybottom and Captivatedaudience.

The filing also alleges that GCHQ has not identified any legal basis for the alleged conduct, and that it breached the European Convention on Human Rights, which affords European citizens a right to privacy and freedom of expression.

Privacy International has asked for its case to be heard in open court.

Speaking to the BBC News, GCHQ declined to comment on the legal complaint.

By Stuart O'Connor | May 14th, 2014