Menu
UK intelligence service GCHQ is on trial for hacking

UK intelligence service GCHQ is on trial for hacking

The UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal is hearing complaints filed by Privacy International and seven communications companies and ISPs

GCHQ, the British signals intelligence service, is in the dock accused of hacking computers without individual warrants in order to tap communications.

The allegations, made by messaging providers and campaign groups GreenNet, RiseUp Networks, Chaos Computer Club and Privacy International, among others, concern the use by the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters of "thematic warrants" to hack computers. They began making their cases to the U.K.'s Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London on Tuesday, in hearings scheduled to run through Friday.

GCHQ first admitted to hacking in February following Privacy International's initial legal challenge.

Documents released by the court on Tuesday confirm that GCHQ hacks computers without individual warrants, according to Privacy International, which published the documents on its website.

The campaign groups were not the only ones concerned about the extent and lawfulness of GCHQ's activities: The U.K.'s Commissioner of the Intelligence Services investigated in 2014, eventually publishing a report in July this year expressing concerns that the warrants relied on by GCHQ were too broad.

The court documents show that U.K. Secretary of State does not individually approve hacking operations outside the U.K. unless they involve "additional sensitivity" or "political risk," Privacy International said.

Furthermore, when there are explicit authorizations, they do not identify or describe the equipment to be hacked, or even name the equipment users to be spied on, it said.

The full extent of the U.K. intelligence services' hacking activities will never be known as the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) failed to keep accurate records, a matter the government's own Intelligence and Security Committee found "unacceptable" in a March 2015 report included among the court documents.

Calling the authorities to account now will not necessarily improve things in the future. Earlier this month, the U.K. government presented a draft law, the Investigatory Powers Bill, which if approved without amendment will give the intelligence services freedom to hack almost anyone.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments