The Guardian has today printed a new interview with Edward Snowden, conducted by Ewan MacAskill and Alan Rusbridger last week in Moscow. Two video clips from this interview have already been published; one in which Edward Snowden discussed the UK’s new surveillance law and a longer fifteen minute excerpt which touches on many of the issues in the full article.
UK MPs have been told that, not only is the legal regime governing GCHQ likely to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, many of the agency’s activities are illegal even by current domestic standards.
Jemima Stratford QC and Tim Johnston were asked to prepare the opinion for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drones. While APPGs have no formal powers within the UK political system some – like the APPG on Extraordinary Rendition – have done important investigatory work in areas where formal oversight has been lacking.
While legislative proposals based on this opinion have already been tabled, its primary importance is likely to be its foreshadowing of issues the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) could adjudicate on this year in the case Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom. In the past, the Strasbourg court has played a decisive role in forcing changes to UK surveillance practices and it has never before been asked to consider the legality of mass surveillance.
In the wake of the publication of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) report into the NSA’s collection of domestic phone metadata, a number of voices in the US have echoed the Board’s findings that collection is neither effective nor legal. In the past 48 hours, both the New York Times and the LA Times have published editorials calling for bulk collection to be ended – and even the Republican National Convention has called for an immediate end to “unconstitutional surveillance” and a full investigation into the NSA’s activities.
Edward Snowden will be answering questions submitted by the public on his official support site, freesnowden.is, this Thursday 23 January at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. The support site is run by The Courage Foundation and is the only endorsed Snowden Defence Fund.
This is the first Snowden live chat since June 2013 and will last for an hour starting at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. Questions can be submitted on twitter on the day of the event using the #AskSnowden hashtag. Edward Snowden’s responses will appear at http://www.freesnowden.is/asksnowden