Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 8 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com WASHINGTON - Some of the FBI's electronic surveillance activities violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, a secretive surveillance court has ruled. The ruling deals a rare rebuke to U.S. spying programs that have generally withstood legal challenge and review since they were dramatically expanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The opinion resulted in the FBI agreeing to better safeguard privacy and apply new procedures, including recording how the database is searched to detect possible future compliance issues.
Civil liberties campaigners scored a huge victory on Wednesday when Europe's highest court ruled that Britain's sweeping surveillance powers are illegal. The country is on the verge of adopting what critics say is the most extensive surveillance law to be adopted in the Western world. The Investigatory Powers Act, approved by Parliament last month, enables the British government to undertake the bulk interception of electronic communications of ordinary citizens. More specifically, it requires Internet and phone companies to keep the records of every call made, online message sent and website visited by customers for 12 months. Public organizations would then be able access these communications, sometimes without a warrant, and also without the individual being made aware they were under surveillance.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered a blow to the UK's controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act. The Act, which is commonly known as the "snoopers' charter" and received royal assent in November, legitimizes a range of government surveillance powers. Among other things, it requires internet service providers to keep records of their users' web browsing data for a year so that it can be accessed by a list of government and police departments – a measure that has previously been criticized as unworkable, ineffective and potentially damaging to the UK's tech sector. The EU court now says such data collection is not permissible. In a judgment released on Wednesday morning, it rules that EU member states may not force telecommunications companies to indiscriminately retain data about their users.
The Investigatory Powers Act became the UK government's new digital surveillance law less than a month ago, but it appears it's already been deemed unfit for purpose. The EU Court of Justice today delivered its verdict on a long-running case concerning the legality of surveillance measures. It ruled that while the targeted retention of data for the purpose of combating serious crime is permissible, "indiscriminate" data collection is incompatible with EU human rights law. "Such national legislation therefore exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified within a democratic society," the court said. This doesn't bode well for a controversial new power in the IP Act that allows the government to force internet service providers and mobile carriers to store data on the online activity of all customers for a period of 12 months.
The French Constitutional Council has taken another look at a new security law it waved through in July 2015, and found it wanting. A key clause of last year's Surveillance Law essentially allowed security agencies to monitor and control wireless communications without the usual oversight applied to wiretapping operations. This is unconstitutional as the lack of oversight is likely to result in a disproportionate invasion of privacy, the council ruled Friday. It was responding to a complaint filed by La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), an association campaigning for online rights, the ISP French Data Network (FDN) and the Federation of Non-Profit ISPs. The complainants welcomed the decision, saying it "deprived intelligence services of a legal cover unleashing all kinds of illegal surveillance measures," and showed how precise and persistent work can still change the law even after an unfortunate vote.