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La Quadrature Joins the Legal Struggle Against Mass Surveillance

Paris, 4 April 2014 — In October 2013, Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, English Pen and Constanze Kurz launched a legal challenge1 to the UK's internet surveillance activities before the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the unchecked surveillance through programmes such as PRISM and TEMPORA is a breach of our Right to Privacy. La Quadrature du Net joined a coalition formed to support this legal challenge.

The Dutch association Bits of Freedom recently formed a coalition, which La Quadrature du Net joined, to support this legal challenge. On 1 April 2014, the coalition submitted a request for leave to intervene to the ECHR in order to intervene on the questions of "Whether the Court's framework for protection of communications, and in particular the lower protection accorded to so-called "metadata" or "traffic data" vis-à-vis "content" of communications, needs to be revised in view of current technological possibilities" and on "How internet surveillance directly affects the work of European NGOs". The response of the ECHR is expected in a few weeks.

The outcome of this legal challenge could have an important inpact in France. More and more evidence of a massive surveillance system is coming to light, including indications of the cooperation, outside any judicial oversight, between the company Orange and the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), and the introduction of the loi de programmation militaire late last year, which would legalise a system of massive surveillance in France.

The signatories to this request to the ECHR are:

  • Asociaţia pentru Tehnologie şi Internet (ApTI) (România)
  • Bits of Freedom (Nederland)
  • Föreningen för digitala fri- och rättigheter (DFRI) (Sverige)
  • Digital Courage (Deutschland)
  • Digital Rights Ireland (Irlande)
  • Digitale Gesellschaft (Deutschland)
  • European Digital Rights (EDRi) (Europe)
  • Electronic Frontier Finland (Suomi)
  • Initiative für Netzfreiheit (Österreich)
  • IT-Politisk Forening (IT-Pol) (Danmark)
  • La Quadrature du Net (France)
  • Panoptykon (Rzeczpospolita Polska)
  • Verein für Internet-Benutzer Österreichs (VIBE) (Österreich)