What the court is saying, if you read the judgement, is that they don't want to be overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of people just because GCHQ have been spying on hundreds of thousands. Their argument is that GCHQ is allowed to, which would appear to be prejudging the case somewhat.
The UK's only judicial body for hearing complaints against the intelligence services has ruled claimants must show why their communications are "potentially at risk" of being collected by the government's mass-surveillance activities. On Monday the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) handed down its judgment which threatened …
Monday 16th May 2016 19:02 GMT NoneSuch
Tuesday 17th May 2016 08:00 GMT viscount
Tuesday 17th May 2016 08:26 GMT Anonymous Coward
Well look, IPT is not a court, its one of these pseudo legal things outside the judicial process to keep the spooks outside legal challenges. That might have been tolerable when the spooks were concentrating on non-UK targets, but now they're spying on UK, that makes this tribunal more a danger to the UK than protecting it.
The obvious parallel here is the TTIP trade agreement and its Tribunal of Corporate Lawyers that can overturn national laws at the behest of Corps. Again, another pseudo court to avoid legal challenges, outside the democracy.
Another point is ECHR's and its EU equivalent the ECJ, have a National Security exemption for basic rights, *but* IPT don't get to decide if they can apply the exemption, ECHR/ECJ do. So exhausting the rubber stamping body's process is likely to speed things up. Since they can't fight up in the higher court till they've exhausted the lower court process.
"Judicial Process" is a name used to label a specific hierarchy of law enforcement bodies. It's not "anything done by a judge". The big brown log a judge leaves in the toilet after a curry is not a "judicial process" just because its a process done by a judge! These tribunals and bodies are intended to appear as a judicial process, but are more akin to the Jalfrezi floater.
Monday 16th May 2016 19:12 GMT Chris G
It's all about standards
Forms, that is!
"However, the tribunal stated it was "entirely satisfied that there is insufficient information in the standard form which is being used by all the other 657 Claimants (including the rest of the Ten) to justify" the hearing of their complaints."
If the 'standard' form is insufficient for consideration why does it even exist?
Is there a non-standard form that can be filled in so that they will consider a case, or am I just being frivolous?
I suppose it is a case of ' If you think you have a case fill in the form'.
' The form you have filled in gives insufficient information for your case to be considered'.
'You must give us more information but we don't have a form for that so use the standard form'.
I think a guy called Joseph Heller wrote a book about something like that.
Monday 16th May 2016 19:21 GMT Camilla Smythe
I often make an effort to top myself when faced with the same.
I may have missed something but does not attempting to top yourself as a result of someone else's actions qualify as 'harm'?
 After many attempts using prescription rubbish it turns out that a ligature around the neck and a twist from a Big Spanner is the best way to go.
 After the first twist you will be winding string.
 No. I cannot 'prove it' but it's pretty bloody obvious.
Monday 16th May 2016 22:42 GMT Paul 164
"...they were each actually required to submit information as to why they were 'potentially at risk.'"
Basically meaning that GCHQ will then use this information to use as an excuse to scrutinise (well, monitor) these individuals under the guise of the IPT requiring more information to review their cases!
Tuesday 17th May 2016 00:19 GMT Anonymous Coward
Tuesday 17th May 2016 03:11 GMT veti
Give the honorable poster a cigar! This is exactly how it works.
And if you think that's unintended, I have an internet to sell you. Welcome to the world of political activism.
This is the trouble with groups like Privacy International. Not their fault, by any means, but an inevitable consequence of the way they operate. They'll make a lot of fuss, then the Powers That Be will make something that looks at first glance like a "concession" but on closer examination turns out to be nothing of the sort. It's SOP.
What the concession does is to confuse the issue, placate most of the campaigners, and basically quiet things down again. In order to understand why it doesn't mean squat, you'd need to be paying attention, and the people who play this game professionally - civil servants, mostly - know that only a vanishingly tiny fraction of the populace is doing that.
Here in NZ, we had a brouhaha a few years ago about proposed "three strikes" copyright legislation, which was promptly withdrawn. But those of us who were paying attention knew all along (1) that there was no "three strikes" proposal in the first place (the whole thing was a put-up job by a newly elected government trying to score points over its predecessor), and (2) the really important copyright provisions were, at that same moment, being negotiated in ACTA. We "won" a victory against a phantom, people celebrated and moved on - and were promptly mugged by the much bigger juggernaut that the butterfly-like public attention span didn't even want to know about.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 00:59 GMT Chairo
Tuesday 17th May 2016 02:43 GMT rtb61
Why the Secrecy?
What they are really concerned about, disclose sufficient details of the invasions of privacy and it will demonstrate that it was purposefully political.
They specifically targeted union leaders, influential labour party members, environmentalists, social reformers, protesters and as always with right governments, intellectuals that challenged psychopathic capitalism.
That is the rabbit hole, most of the investigations were not about terrorism or organised crime, they were about politics and looking for ways to attack the opposition either directly or through their families. So political players inside GCHQ working with the Torries to attack and destroy any opposition to Tax Havens, the military industrial complex profits, more wealth for the rich and more austerity for the poor, basically any threats to the organised crime of right wing politics.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 02:57 GMT MrDamage
Tuesday 17th May 2016 09:04 GMT Mike Shepherd
Tuesday 17th May 2016 09:50 GMT banalyzer
Curious that no one has stated the obvious reasons
Exactly what does mass surveillance actually mean?
1. I am British and thus a spying target
2. I am not British and thus a spying target.
Or do I have the wrong interpretation of 'mass surveillance', always a possibility of course.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 10:44 GMT Anonymous Coward
I may have mentioned this before, elsewhere in The Register................
....but Theresa May and her (so called) civil service are determined to recreate the STASI, but in 2016 and in the UK. This news item is one more sign that GCHQ, NSA and other Five Eyes agencies are well on the way to demolishing all forms of privacy. I recommend abandoning the internet, setting up dead letter drops with your friends, always paying in cash, using burner phones....oh yes.....and actually talking to people one-on-one in place of texting across the table at the coffee bar.
As far as avoiding facial recognition hits, I recommend the suggested Ziggy Stardust style of facial decoration which can be found on the internet.......that's before you abandon the internet.
William Burroughs had this to say about paranoia (before hundreds of readers here accuse me of it):
- The paranoid is a man who knows a little of what is going on
Tuesday 17th May 2016 12:43 GMT PowerBenny
I am one of the 663. I'm not an overt political activist, not a union leader, rarely summon the energy to go and protest about anything, am not a spy, not an illegal hacker, and I'm not a foreigner. What I am is an interested UK subject, someone who cares about my rights and who identified an opportunity for me to stand up to the government and add my small voice to this challenge and hope to see them have to justify their actions.
So, given all the above, I am now placed in a situation where I have to offer this extra evidence as to why I think I have been spied upon. I can come up with some stuff about Edward Snowden's revelations but if there are any other suggestions on what I might send back to them then I would welcome your input.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 15:48 GMT Danny 2
Re: I'm Spartacus
I'm not one of the 663 but have strong and deep evidence I was spied upon, including but not limited to emails from a since exposed police infiltrator. I never applied to PI as I had no faith it would be taken seriously, but if it's being dismissed in this flippant manner then I perhaps should (reluctantly hold up my hand, sigh, and mumble "I'm Spartacus").
However, I'm still put off submitting a complaint as they are limiting it to the first ten cases, instead of the strongest ten, and I'm not sure if those ten have to be part of the six hundred and sixty three. Do you know if that is the case?
Tuesday 17th May 2016 17:05 GMT Danny 2
Re: I'm Spartacus
We appreciate your expression of willingness to participate. Unfortunately, the claims in this case had to be filed by 4 December 2015. The reason is that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that unlawful GCHQ surveillance, on which these claims are based, became lawful as of 5 December 2014. Once a claim is filed, the Tribunal will only search GCHQ’s records for unlawful activity during the year before the claim was submitted. What this means is that a claim submitted on 14 September 2015 would lead to records being searched for the time period between 14 September 2014 and 5 December 2014. Claims submitted after 4 December 2015 would address surveillance by GCHQ that was deemed lawful by the Tribunal and therefore not subject to a search.
It's even more of a con than the article conveyed! Apologies to PI but no apologies to the IPT:
"If Sir Jimmy abused you in the you before you first complained, then we would certainly consider accepting your proof".
Tuesday 17th May 2016 13:04 GMT Anonymous Coward
The answer is in the question
"claimants must show why their communications are "potentially at risk" of being collected by the government's mass-surveillance activities"
Just in case it gets missed I'll repeat it "The governments mass-surveillance activities."
The security services have stated they collect the 'haystack' rather than concentrating on needles.
In other words they collect everything they can about everyone & sort it out later.
So by definition everyone's data is not just "potentially at risk" of being collected, but is actively collected already, and unless and until the IP Bill is passed into law this collection is illegal.
It should not be necessary to have to provide a justification for each individual case to show cause for these concerns when the government and security services have already proudly trumpeted this information.
See "Surveillance: Citizens and the State - Constitution Committee" on the Government website
See Section 48 under "LARGE-SCALE, ROUTINE PRACTICES"
48. Many surveillance practices are now widespread and routine, with data being collected on the entire population and not just on traditional "suspects". The practices are no longer carried out only by specialist bodies such as the police and border control agencies. Information is frequently stored and used as a matter of normal organisational routine. Liberty argued that whilst the proliferation of CCTV has attracted more observation and comment, arguably the most profound societal shift in the last decade has been the growth in the use of mass informational databases. (p 105)
Throw that at any court that wants you to show why your communications are "potentially at risk" of being collected.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 22:34 GMT StuartMil
So to file a complaint about GCHQ secretly intercepting my communications with American citizens (FB friends in general and fiancée) without telling me, I have to submit proof that they did it. Albeit they did not tell me, will not tell me and I can't even file a DPA request to get the proof that they did, so that I can complain about it. Seems like the "Tribunal" don't want anyone to complain about anything...
Now that the simple bit is done, how to complain about the NSA doing the same thing? ;-)