ISPs from the UK, US, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Germany and South Korea have collaborated with the campaigners Privacy International to challenge GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence agency.
Involved in the lawsuit are GreenNet from the UK; Riseup and May First/People Link from the US; Greehost from the Netherlands; Mango from Zimbabwe; Jinbonet from South Korea and Chaos Computer Club from Germany.
The 7 ISPs claim the GCHQ are responsible for illegal network attacks on their infrastructure. Many claims have been made such as Belgian employees of Belgacom, a telecommunications company, were targeted by GCHQ and infected with malware to gain access to their systems. German internet exchange points were also targeted which meant internet traffic could be spied on unknowingly.
These allegations follow the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowdon, who raised the global awareness of the government’s privacy invasive techniques and activities.
Privacy International has stated the attacks are not only illegal, but are destructive and undermine the goodwill the organisations rely on. They also damage the trust in security and privacy that makes the Internet such a crucial tool of communication and empowerment.
Privacy International’s deputy director, Eric King, comments “It completely cripples our confidence in the Internet economy and threatens the rights of all those who use it. These unlawful activities run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately.”