ISPs and privacy campaigners have come together to take legal action to halt snooping by GCHQ the UK’s intelligence communications agency.
The UK’s GreenNet, Dutch hosting service Greenhost, Mango from Zimbabwe and Jinbonet from South Korea have joined forces with the German Chaos Computer Club and campaigning organisations Privacy International, Riseup and May First/People Link.
They allege that GCHQ carried out unlawful attacks on communications networks around the world, following revelations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endanger the world’s most powerful tool for democracy and free expression.”
“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 GHCQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately.”
Their complaints said that the spy organisation intercepted the network of Belgian telco Belgacom and planted malware in order to gain access to its infrastructure, drawing on leaks published in a series of articles published by German newspaper Der Spiegel.
The complaint was lodged with the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) and the organisaitons said: “The claimants were not directly named in the Snowden documents, the type of surveillance being carried out allows them to challenge the practices in the IPT because they and their users are at threat of being targeted.”
Three internet exchanges in Germany were also alleged to be targeted by a joint GCHQ/NSA operation.