Snowden was right: Celebration and calls for pardon after European court rules UK spy agency GCHQ’s online snooping was illegal. Could dissident journalist Julian Assange be released after the Washington DC, dubbed ‘The Great Satan’ by critics, suffering a humiliating debacle over Western suppression of ‘inconvenient journalism’? After winning a landmark ruling against the United Kingdom’s GCHQ spy agency, activist groups praised former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for blowing the lid off the UK’s surveillance regime. Activists called yet again for his pardoning. In a ruling issued on Tuesday morning, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared that GCHQ’s bulk interception of online communications, which was first brought to light by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, was illegal. GCHQ stands for Government Communications Headquarters. In its findings, the ECHR found three fundamental deficiencies in the GCHQ’s interception process: it had been authorised by a politician and not an independent body, search terms that would be flagged by the spy agency had not been included in the application for a warrant, and search terms linked to individuals, for example, names, email addresses, and phone numbers, had not been authorised internally prior to their use.
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