The UK has admitted that its spying agencies have been eavesdropping on private conversations between lawyers and their clients to provide the government with an advantage in court.
The British government announced that the secret policies for monitoring the legally privileged conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years are unlawful and do not comply with European human rights laws.
The admission is seen as yet another embarrassment for the British government.
Earlier on February 6, a British court ruled that the regime surrounding the sharing of mass personal intelligence data between the US national security agency and the UK’s GCHQ was unlawful for seven years.
The case is to be brought before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) by the lawyers of two Libyans, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi. The two men along with their families, were kidnapped in a joint MI6-CIA operation and sent back to Tripoli to be tortured by former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime back in 2004.
“In view of recent IPT judgments, we acknowledge that the policies adopted since [January] 2010 have not fully met the requirements of the ECHR, specifically article 8 (right to privacy). This includes a requirement that safeguards are made sufficiently public, the British media quoted a government spokesman as saying.
Meanwhile, Amnesty UK’s legal program director, Rachel Logan, described the move as “nothing less than the violation of a fundamental principle of the rule of law.”
A London-based journalist slammed the government’s surveillance programs, arguing that the country is becoming a police state.
“Spying on all of us is just getting worse and worse as time goes on. We are really on our road to a police state…The government has been caught red-handed. So you can say it has really no choice to admit it,” Alan Hart told Press TV on Wednesday.