Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Putting the Five Eyes in the spotlight

Privacy International has taken the UK to court in an effort to force disclosure of the Five Eyes spy agreement:

The secret "Five Eyes" treaty that authorises intelligence sharing between the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand should be published, according to an appeal lodged on Tuesday at the European court of human rights.

The application by Privacy International (PI), which campaigns on issues of surveillance, to the Strasbourg court is the latest in a series of legal challenges following the revelations of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden aimed at forcing the government to disclose details of its surveillance policies.

The civil liberties group alleges that the UK is violating the right to access information by "refusing to disclose the documents that have an enormous impact on human rights in the UK and abroad".

As their application to the ECHR makes clear, what's really going on here is an attempt to parley the article 10 right to receive information into a right to access it. There's some support in recent ECHR caselaw for this, including a right of access against spy agencies. That's not to say that they'll win, but the case is definitely worth watching.