Amnesty International: Surveillance

Home Office written question – answered on 14th July 2015.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Labour, West Bromwich East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the communications of Amnesty International have been intercepted (a) with or (b) without her authorisation.

Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Labour, West Bromwich East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the communications of human rights charities, other than Amnesty International, have been intercepted in the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

It is the longstanding policy of successive British governments not to comment on intelligence matters. However, as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) said in its judgment of 22 June 2015 that any interception that occurred was lawful, necessary and proportionate.

While the IPT has found in favour of two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), it has made clear that neither of the NGOs suffered material detriment, damage or prejudice as a result of the breaches.

Caution should be exercised against drawing conclusions from the IPT’s ruling about the target of any such interception that may have taken place. A finding in favour of an individual or organisation does not necessarily mean that they themselves were the target; it could equally mean that they were simply in communication with a target. However I can neither confirm nor deny specifics relating to this or any other case.

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