Regimes that regulate the use of certain surveillance techniques by British espionage agencies have violated human rights obligations, European judges have noted.
The complaint centered on complaints about the powers conferred on security services under the Rupa Regulation (Investigation Act 2000), which has since been replaced.
In a ruling on Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found violations of mass-surveillance and communications data.
Bulk Interception is used to collect the communications of individuals outside the United Kingdom, including their content, in order to strengthen information abroad and to identify potential threats from overseas.
The court found that the selection and search processes associated with the operation were not sufficiently independent.
Communication data includes information such as. For example, who sent a message or made a call when and where it happened – but not the content.
The ECtHR found by five votes to two that the mass surveillance regime violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which includes citizens' rights to privacy and communication.
Summing up the ruling, "While the court was satisfied that the UK intelligence services are taking its obligations under the Convention seriously and are not abusing its powers, it notes that the selection and search processes in the EU are inadequate in particular, in the selection of Internet carriers for the interception and selection of selectors and search criteria for the filtering and selection of intercepted communications for the audit. "
The Strasbourg Court found that the implementation of a system for supervising the mass shedding did not in itself contravene the Convention.
In its ruling, it says that the system for collecting data from communications service providers infringes Article 8 because it does not comply with the law.
The court also concluded that both the system of mass surveillance and communication data provide inadequate guarantees regarding confidential journalistic material.
However, the judges found no violation of the regime for the exchange of information with foreign governments.
Complaints regarding procedures for contesting surveillance measures, alleged discrimination were rejected.
The verdict follows a lengthy litigation triggered by Edward Snowden's revelations of surveillance techniques used by US and UK security agencies in 2013.
Since then, the government has introduced the groundbreaking Investigatory Powers Act, which has brought together a set of tactics to combat terrorism and serious crime in a legal framework.
It also introduced the "double lock" regime, which means that a judge must sign warrants for the most intrusive powers.
The ruling covers the previous Ripa regulations and the ECtHR acknowledged that the IP law is making significant changes to the rules on mass surveillance and communication data.
Big Brother Watch, a member of a number of organizations that filed complaints, claimed it was a "groundbreaking verdict".
Its director, Silkie Carlo, said: "Under the guise of combating terrorism, Britain has adopted the most authoritarian surveillance regime of any western state that corrodes democracy itself and the rights of the British public."