Tribunal rules computer hacking by GCHQ is not illegal
“GCHQ is operating within the law when it hacks into computers and smart phones, a security tribunal has ruled.
Campaigners Privacy International have lost a legal challenge claiming the spying post’s hacking operations are too intrusive and break European law.
The case was launched after revelations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden about the extent of US and UK spying.
GCHQ admitted its agents hack devices, in the UK and abroad, for the first time during the hearings.
Its previous policy had been to “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of such operations.
Hackers can remotely activate cameras and microphones on devices, without the owner’s knowledge, log keystrokes, install malware, copy documents and track locations among other things, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) was told.
The Home Office has now published a code of practice for hacking, or “equipment interference” as it is also known, and aims to put it on a firmer legal footing in its Investigatory Powers Bill, which is due to become law later this year.”