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Big Brother Watch and Others v UK: Lessons from the Latest Strasbourg Ruling on Bulk Surveillance

Bart van der Sloot, Eleni Kosta


Big Brother Watch and Others v the United Kingdom, Application numbers 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15, Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 13 September 2018
A United Kingdom mass surveillance law, allowing for bulk interception by intelligence agencies and data sharing with foreign counterparts, violated both Article 8 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that, inter alia, the lack of oversight of the entire selection process and the absence of any real safeguards applicable to the selection of related communications data for the examination constitute a violation of the right to privacy. Although the ECtHR did not find a violation of Article 8 in relation to intelligence data sharing, it is important that it acknowledged for the first time its importance and stressed that the minimum requirements it has developed for gathering data also apply to sharing the data.
Article 8 ECHR; Sections 8 and 16 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)

Dr Bart van der Sloot, Senior Researcher at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), Tilburg University. Prof Dr Eleni Kosta, Professor of Technology Law and Human Rights, TILT, Tilburg University. For correspondence: <> and <>.


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