A legal appeal demanding immediate suspension of Britain’s use of material from America’s controversial PRISM programme has been filed by privacy campaigners on grounds that it allows intelligence agencies to bypass domestic laws on accessing personal information.
Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers act (RIPA), intelligence agencies are required to obtain a warrant from a minister before snooping on U.K. citizens but it does not apply to data collected by a U.S.-based programme which then shares it with Britain.
They also argue that the vast scale of people’s personal data secretly gathered through PRISM is disproportionate to the country’s security needs.
“Through their access to the U.S. programme, U.K. authorities are able to obtain private information about U.K. citizens without having to comply with any requirements of RIPA,” Privacy International said in an appeal filed before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which looks into complaints against intelligence agencies.
According to The Guardian, it also demanded a temporary halt to the Tempora programme which allows GCHQ, Britain’s intelligence hub, to hack into underground cables to obtain millions of private e-mails, and records of phone calls.
The group said the laws invoked to trawl personal data on such a vast scale were being abused.