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Europe rights court hears UK surveillance cases

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] held [webcast] simultaneous hearings [press release] Tuesday regarding the UK's practice of intercepting private communications in large amounts, which was leaked by Edward Snowden [CNN backgrounder].

The cases, brought by civil rights groups, were heard by a panel of seven judges, over violations of privacy, expression and right to a fair trial. In particular, 10 Human Rights Organisations and Others v. the UK has gained particular attention [Guardian report] as the Investigatory Power Tribunal of the UK holds some evidentiary hearings in secret, without even the parties involved. The tribunal concluded that internal arrangements were in place that required oversight to support the legality of the UK's actions. The other parties to this hearing include: Big Brother Watch [official website], an organization focused on privacy and freedom of express; the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, a media organization, and Alice Ross, a writer for the Bureau.

The cases have taken some four years to be heard by the court after Edward Snowden's Wikileak in 2013. The ECHR will release the rulings on the cases at a "later stage" according to the press release by the court.

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