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A panel of 10 judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, held a hearing Tuesday [7 NOV 2017] to examine the U.K. government's large-scale electronic spying operations, following three separate challenges brought by a dozen human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Big Brother Watch, the Open Rights Group, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
Government lawyer James Eadie told the court that using surveillance systems to collect and store communications is not itself a violation of privacy. Instead, he said, privacy is only violated when there is "sentient examination" of communications - in other words, when a human analyst reads or listens to individual messages or calls. This will be a key point of contention for the Strasbourg judges to consider.
chamber hearing (running time 02:53:36)
precedent: Joined Cases C‑203/15 and C‑698/15, Judgment, 21 Dec 2016
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