David Davis comments on the IPT’s ruling that GCHQ’s access to NSA data breached human rights law


Responding to the decision of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had “contravened” part of the European Convention of Human Rights in relation to the US surveillance programmes Prism and Upstream, David Davis said:

“The IPT has made a clear statement that GCHQ’s access to information obtained by the US National Security Agency was illegal.

It is extraordinary that GCHQ are ‘pleased’ with this decision and that their bulk interception regime is ‘fully lawful’. Their statements will not fill the public or Parliament with confidence that they are clear on where exactly the boundaries of legality lie.

It is presumably on the basis of this lack of understanding that the Intelligence and Security Committee was briefed that all GCHQ’s activities were lawful, a statement that has now been shown to be incorrect.

Our intelligence agencies and our government clearly have to rethink the basis on which they have undertaken, and continue to undertake, their mass data collection on ordinary members of the public, particularly given that the IPT’s ruling that GCHQ’s activities post December 2014 were lawful is likely to be challenged and overturned in the courts.”