back to article UK Supreme Court considers whether spy court should be immune to legal probes

The UK's highest court has this week heard arguments in Privacy International's long-running attempt to challenge decisions made by Britain's shadowy spying oversight court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). The campaign group wants to launch a judicial review at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) over a 2016 …

  1. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    While the UK is better than many countries it is far from perfect.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: "While the UK is better than many countries"

      Your point being? It's also worse than many others.

      I think we should aim for "good", nut just "better than others"...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: we should aim for "good", nut just "better than others"...

        he meant to say "not as bad". Which is just as bad anyway. And, sadly, it will do, of course. It will always do. Whatever violation is being legally stamped, it will be defended by the same old bulletproof argument: lalala, we're not listening, lalala, look how bad China and Russia are, etc.

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Obvious comment ...

    Nothing to fear if you've nothing to hide ...

    It is a well known fact that the Government is great, always does what's right for the people, never does anything remotely dodgy and T May and her hench-persons are totally trustworthy. Therefore there needs to be no oversight of 'their' actions as they will always be correct and above board ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious comment ...

      I'm considering making a suggestion to my fellow Masons that we consider this charity when making contributions.

      One of the tenet's of FM is that we uphold the law of the land in which we abide, and ensuring oversight of extraordinary powers seems to be in line with that as I see it.

      Thoughts?

      1. Woodnag

        Contributions

        When considering charities... do check the finances, as some NPs are more lifestyle vehicles for the directors than do-good orgs. A lot of phone-based fundraisers keep most of the contributions. In US, 501(c)(3) non-profits must file Form 990 showing finances, and these aren't difficult to dig up on the webs. When directors are getting a few hundred $k, a question or two are begged...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Contributions

          @Woodnag - I appreciate the advice, indeed this is something that has already been pointed out to me (in general, rather than to this specific subject). Definitely something I will be on the lookout for.

    2. Tikimon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      What do laws matter?

      ...when you're above the law?

      That's the real point of all this for the spymasters. They believe they are above/below/outside/ARE the law, and have to answer to nobody. Ergo, their actions should be secret, without oversight, without redress or recourse. They will never accept being reined in, and in the unlikely event restrictions are passed they will simply ignore them, like they're ignoring our legal protections now.

      Oversight? Limits? Even if you add restrictions, what the hell is anyone going to do about violations? NOTHING. Just like has happened since Ed Snowden ripped the mask off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What do laws matter?

        That's the real point of all this for the spymasters. They believe they are above/below/outside/ARE the law

        That raises some very interesting ethical questions for anyone in these organisations who are FM's.

  3. GnuTzu Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    The NSA's Ugly Uncle

    There's just something about secret bureaucracies that just has the weird putrid smell. And, it seems to be there throughout most of the Anglosphere. They cannot claim to serve the people if they have no accountability that the people can trust. The courts are supposed to provide that. Here in the states, we get to have secret courts, as if we actually trust that. I'm really sad to hear that in the U.K. there would even be the consideration of no court involvement whatsoever. It's just the same putrid bureaucratic disease everywhere.

    1. Guildencrantz

      Re: The NSA's Ugly Uncle

      I think you're jumping some way between domestic non-judicial-reviewability of key prerogative powers (as is the norm for the Crown prerogatives or at least some of them, including executive powers of defence) and your claim that those exercising them can't claim to be doing so in the service of the public. I think the latter in no way follows from the former.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Let's say Privacy International get a verdict in their favour. What happens next? Yet a new piece of legislation just sufficiently different to be claimed as different. It's already probably written, just waiting for the date to be added to be introduced into Parliament.

  5. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Any chance

    that while they are remodeling the Star Chamber, they run across an old copy of Magna Carta in the walls?

    1. John McCallum
      Big Brother

      Re: Any chance

      If they do it will be odds on that it will be shit stained after some politician wiped his arse on it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any chance

      The Magna Carta wasn't created for the benefit of the peasants, it was primarily for the one percenters.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Any chance

        True, but it replaced a system that was for the one, so it was a considerable widening of scope in its day.

        1. Keven E

          Re: Any chance

          Yeahbut... .01 is still a quite small *number.

          1. Yes Me Silver badge

            Re: Any chance

            .01 is still a quite small *number

            All the same, it's still cited, especially in the US, when equal treatment under the law is at issue.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: Any chance

              "it's still cited, especially in the US"

              Yes, well, in the US they attach a lot of importance to what's written down, often above what's actually right. It's not really a role model you want to follow.

    3. Guildencrantz

      Re: Any chance

      The law and judgment of peers which Magna Carta refers to as a prerequisite for eg deprivation of freedoms and property doesn't cover all situations. Consider an armed police officer apprehending an armed suspect with a hostage. The perp is about to execute them. Does the officer convene a jury before pulling the trigger? He has powers to act in the defence of life. The Crown prerogatives of national defence operate similarly. Yes so there appear to be rule of law issues there but how do you avoid them and have a functioning executive branch?

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Systems Going Critical Pre Melt Down

    Rule Numero Uno ..... What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander.

    No accountability and responsibility in public circles, no accountability and responsibility in private and pirate circles.

    A Bitter Sweet Recipe for Madness and Mayhem in Deed, indeed.

    Not a SMARTR Way to Go About in the Future whenever Anything Else is Always Also Available for Virtualised Charters/CyberSpace Flights. :-)

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: For Systems Going Critical Pre Melt Down

      Meh.

      It's an OK amanfrommars1 comment, but not great.

      The spelling and grammar in the first two sections are correct, and understandable. (more or less).

      The third section is a much better return to form.

      6/10

  7. Cliff Thorburn

    “Not a SMARTR Way to Go About in the Future whenever Anything Else is Always Also Available for Virtualised Charters/CyberSpace Flights. :-) “

    What next in Star Chambered Pentagram Pac the parcel amfM?, a Virtualised Charter to Guantanamo Bay?, or Gill Nando’s?, or unwarranted Police harrasment?

    How can one be a terrorist when trying to figure out in this almighty estranged process who good old GB actually is?, as it appears that we don’t actually have our own method of air travel.

    Perhaps Kanye West could provide schematics of a Great British supersonic method of flight?

  8. eldakka Silver badge
    WTF?

    If all it needs to take activities covered under legislation out of the courts jurisdiction is to just put such a clause in an act, why doesn't the parliament put such restrictions in all legislation?

    Every act, tax law, criminal law, and so on should have a section "No decisions made under this law are subject to review by the courts".

    I mean, if they can do it for RIPA, they can do it for any legislation.

    That way, we can render the courts entirely redundant, and have all determinations of guilt, innocence, sentencing, done in secret star-chambers overseen by whoever has sucked the ministers cock (or genitalia, we are an equal opportunity dictatorship) the best this week.

    In fact, why don't amend the acts around voting and government appointments to guarantee the current government remains in power forever, and to include the magic "this act is not subject to judicial review" words in it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      VAIOSystems* for Change of Rule to Remote Control of Future Virtual Machinery Providing Presents

      That way, we can render the courts entirely redundant, and have all determinations of guilt, innocence, sentencing, done in secret star-chambers overseen by whoever has sucked the ministers cock (or genitalia, we are an equal opportunity dictatorship) the best this week. ... eldakka

      Do the courts and justice systems as presently are realise that clear and present danger and opportunity, eldakka? What are their courses in such a realisation? JOINT Flights or Impossible Fights?

      Only One Provides Immaculate See for Heavenly Assistance ....... Future Perfect Guidance Systems.

      One of those Colossal Programming Projects Exercising Universal Assets with Almighty Powers for the Sheer Love of the Lust in Just OverEMPowering Reward for Produce Shared and Safely Secured.

      * .... http://www.ur2die4.com/131116-words-create-worlds-secrets-destroy-worlds-worlds-create-words-ergo/

      1. Cliff Thorburn

        Re: VAIOSystems* for Change of Rule to Remote Control of Future Virtual Machinery Providing Presents

        Much of the problem amfM is an inability to either reconcile, or remedy, but more importantly gain, or gather the almighty endpoint of all of this.

        Perhaps knocking on the door of global command HQ would work?, or not, all I do know is time’s a tickin’, and I ain’t runnin’, thus abolishing said myth/inconsistent and incorrect fact and fiction ..

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: VAIOSystems* for Change of Rule to Remote Control of Future Virtual Machinery Providing Presents

          Perhaps knocking on the door of global command HQ/GCHQ would work?, or not,.... Cliff Thorburn

          Been there, done that more than once to ensure there be no hiding place for ignorance, didn't even get a T-shirt ....... that's how bad are their defences, CT.

          What they appear to need is a miracle or two to jump well ahead of a failed Great Game there inaction is supporting.

          1. Cliff Thorburn

            Re: VAIOSystems* for Change of Rule to Remote Control of Future Virtual Machinery Providing Presents

            Well apart from being incredibly ill as a result of this ongoing psychological torture amfM, on a more concerning note, when you have a woman threatening suicide daily who has likewise been driven to financial despair, I can only say Xmas is cancelled in the CT household this Xmas, after now 6 months plus of no income.

            Cant say I never tried though ...

      2. Tail Up

        Re: VAIOSystems* for Change of Rule to Remote Control of Future Virtual Machinery Providing Presents

        https://youtu.be/4P_r2Bwgw3M

  9. Claire Sweet

    AS with ANPR - They're only seeking to legalise something that they are doing already.

    1. Cliff Thorburn

      On the subject of ANPR, it amazes me how many vehicles are prefixed with ‘FY’ and ‘DY’ in old CT land lately, not nice at all ...

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