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Privacy International vs BT

Case overview

Date filed 5 November 2013
Current status Rejected
Issue HR violations facilitated by 6 UK telecom companies
Summary of the case The complaint alleges that the telecom companies facilitated mass interception of internet and telephone traffic by granting the UKs Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) access to their fibre optic networks for the Tempora surveillance program. Privacy International argues that by collaborating with GCHQ and providing access to the networks, the companies knowingly enabled the mass and indiscriminate collection of data and interception of communications and thus contributed to the violation of human rights, including the right to privacy and freedom of expression.
Developments/Outcome The UK NCP forwarded the complaints to the companies named in the complaint for a response. All companies refuted the allegations and insist they are acting in accordance with the law.

In July 2014 the UK NCP rejected the complaint in its entirety, claiming that the complainant had not substantiated the link between the 6 telecom companies and the allegations.

The NCP opined that reports based on documents provided by Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian and Süddeutsche Zeitung do not substantiate a sufficient link between the companies and mass surveillance. The publication of the initial assessment was delayed to October 2014 to await the UK NCP's Steering Board decision on the complainant's request for a review of the NCP's procedure in handling the complaint. The Steering Board declined to review the case and allowed the initial assessment to be made public.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Human rights

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address 1 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET London, United Kingdom
NCP website www.berr.gov.uk
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible BT
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
27 October 2014 National Contact Point United Kingdom reject NCP rejects complaint download pdf (448Kb)  
27 October 2014 Privacy International press release Press release following the rejection of the complaint download pdf (1767Kb)  
5 November 2013 Privacy International press release download pdf (546Kb)  

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