“High-profile” individuals targeted by UK security services

Up to 20 people were spied upon by British intelligence

Around 20 celebrities were spied on by British security services and these operations may not have been justified or warranted.

The disclosure came to light at an investigatory powers tribunal brought by campaigning organisation Privacy International.

According to a report by the Guardian, government lawyers on behalf of GCHQ and MI5 showed that between 2009 and 2013, three searches into high-profile people were "not operationally justifiable."

Another 17 searches, carried out by five officers were said to be possibly not "operationally justifiable". The lawyers added that conversations with those officers were not recorded, meaning it is "not possible to ascertain whether they were in fact operationally justifiable".

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The report said that these individuals were not notified of the surveillance and officers were warned that if they were caught misusing their powers they could face disciplinary action.

Government lawyers initially refused to release the figures on grounds of "damage to national security", but documents were released on the second day of the hearing following repeated request by Privacy International.

The intelligence officers have since been banned from using the security services' data to "search for and/or access information other than that which is necessary and proportionate for [their] current work".

Millie Graham Wood, legal officer at Privacy International, said the security services should have informed the celebrities involved they were being spied upon. She said it should be a serious concern that there is no procedure to notify victims.

"Without such a mechanism, and in the absence of independent or judicial authorisation, a victim of abuse has no prospect of ever securing a remedy."

Featured Resources

The essential guide to cloud-based backup and disaster recovery

Support business continuity by building a holistic emergency plan

Download now

Trends in modern data protection

A comprehensive view of the data protection landscape

Download now

How do vulnerabilities get into software?

90% of security incidents result from exploits against defects in software

Download now

Delivering the future of work - now

The CIO’s guide to building the unified digital workspace for today’s hybrid and multi-cloud strategies.

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/cyber-security/33079/gchq-boss-says-uk-must-be-vigilant-againt-chinese-tech-firms
cyber security

GCHQ boss says UK must be vigilant againt Chinese tech firms

25 Feb 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019
Visit/security/32470/gchq-opens-up-about-concealing-cyber-threats-from-global-community
Security

GCHQ keeps vulnerabilities a secret

30 Nov 2018

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/354222/samsung-sails-past-apples-market-share-despite-smartphone-market-slump
Mobile Phones

Samsung sails past Apple's market share despite smartphone market slump

28 Nov 2019
Visit/hardware/354232/raspberry-pi-4-owners-complain-of-broken-wi-fi-when-using-hdmi
Hardware

Raspberry Pi 4 owners complain of broken Wi-Fi when using HDMI

29 Nov 2019
Visit/mobile/google-android/354189/samsung-galaxy-a90-5g-review-simply-the-best-value-5g-phone
Google Android

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: Simply the best value 5G phone

22 Nov 2019
Visit/business-strategy/digital-transformation/354201/boston-dynamics-dog-like-robots-sniff-out-bombs-for
digital transformation

Boston Dynamics dog-like robots sniff out bombs for Massachusetts police

26 Nov 2019