Privacy Group Sues U.K. Over Leaked Electronic Spying Programs

Privacy International sued the British government in a bid to force a review of U.S. surveillance programs exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The U.K. government’s use of data collected from the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism program is illegal under the European Human Rights Act, Privacy International, an advocacy group, said in a statement. It is also challenging the U.K.’s Tempora operation, which Privacy International said taps fiber-optic cables to gather data on individuals.

Snowden, a U.S. security contractor, leaked details of U.S. National Security Agency programs that collect telephone and Internet data. American prosecutors are seeking his return from Russia, where he sought asylum from theft and espionage charges.

“Secret law is not law,” said Eric King, head of research at London-based Privacy International, which campaigns against intrusion by governments and corporations. “The scope and scale of this program, which monitors the entire British public and much of the world, cannot be justified as necessary and proportionate.”

A spokesman for the U.K. Home Office declined to immediately comment. The advocacy group is challenging the programs at the country’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London at cchellel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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