GCHQ Community Quietly Given Immunity by UK Government

May 22, 2015

GCHQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

A bill was passed last March 3 and became effective just on May 3 that gives immunity to GCHQ, police officers, and other intelligence officers from being prosecuted for hacking into computers and mobile phones.

According to Privacy International, no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner’s Office, industry, NGOs, or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes, nor was there any public debate. Normally, such changes go through due parliamentary process; however, this amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was snuck in under the radar as secondary legislation.

Furthermore, Privacy International suggests that this change was enacted due to a complaint it filed last year, together with UK Investigator Powers Tribunal (IPT), regarding GCHQ’s hacking activities that were unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act.

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