Landmark ruling extends GCHQ covert surveillance powers to MPs

  • By Adrian Jones

Baroness Jenny Jones of the Green Party is no stranger to standing up in protest

Baroness Jenny Jones of the Green Party is no stranger to standing up in protest

Green Party politicians, Caroline Lucas and Baroness Jenny Jones argued that a long-standing doctrine protecting MPs’ communications was in constant breach by the UK’s highly controversial intelligence program.

But in a landmark decision the Investigatory Powers Tribunal said the Wilson Doctrine was no bar to the incidental collection of MPs’ data.

Thanks to revelations from the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, it is becoming increasingly clear just how vast the UK’s mass surveillance program is.

The program treats all citizens as suspects collecting intimate and person records and data covertly, only not all citizens are equal, there has long been protests against the use of religious and racial profiling used by the intelligence agencies. The UK is the most watched nation on earth, whilst being far from the most populous, the North Atlantic Island has one of the world’s highest numbers of CCTV cameras. Government controlled cameras are fitted with facial recognition software, recorded and monitored around the clock.

Pivoted street cameras on high poles similar to street lighting caused uproar when they were launched due to their close proximity to houses and their ability to turn the camera to look into people’s homes and bedroom windows. Several years on and in the major cities such as London and Birmingham street CCTV is just a normal and accepted part of daily life.

It would now seem that the intelligence agencies are treating opposition MPs as suspects too, and thanks to the new ruling, all legally of course.

A.Jones4@theinternational.org.uk