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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Events

Why experience is the new battleground for partners

Join us for an exclusive webinar, in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and learn about the latest industry insights and how technology services continue to evolve to deliver differentiated value, and how partners can be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments