GCHQ’s spy malware operation faces legal challenge

GCHQ’s spy malware operation faces legal challenge

Privacy International claims development of programs that remotely hijack computer cameras and microphones is illegal.

GCHQ, the government’s monitoring agency, acted illegally by developing spy programs that remotely hijack computers’ cameras and microphones without the user’s consent, according to privacy campaigners.

A legal challenge lodged on Tuesday at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) calls for the hacking techniques alleged to be far more intrusive than interception of communications to be outlawed. Mobile phones were also targeted, leaked documents reveal.

The claim has been submitted by Privacy International following revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the mass surveillance operations conducted by GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA).

The 21-page submission details a host of “malware” – software devised to take over or damage another person’s computer – with such esoteric names as Warrior Pride, Gumfish, Dreamy Smurf, Foggybottom and Captivatedaudience.

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