UK court says politicians don't have protection from snooping

A British court has ruled that lawmakers do not have special protection from communications-monitoring, saying a 50-year-old rule against phone tapping has no legal force.

London: A British court has ruled that lawmakers do not have special protection from communications-monitoring, saying a 50-year-old rule against phone tapping has no legal force.

Three politicians complained to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that their communications were being intercepted by spy agency GCHQ as part of its mass harvesting of emails, Web traffic and other communications data.

Green lawmakers Caroline Lucas and Jenny Jones and ex-lawmaker George Galloway argued the data-gathering violates the Wilson Doctrine -- a rule implemented by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966 that said no lawmaker's telephone should be tapped except during a national emergency.

The tribunal, which hears complaints about surveillance, ruled today that the doctrine applies only to targeted, not incidental, interception of Parliamentary communications -- and that it has no legal force.

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