back to article Judge to interview Assange over claims Spanish security firm snooped on him during Ecuador embassy stint

Julian Assange will be interviewed via video link by a judge investigating claims that a Spanish company orchestrated a spying operation against him while he resided in the Ecuadorian embassy. The request, made in September, was granted last week. Assange will be taken to Westminster Magistrates' Court on 20 December to be …

  1. bpfh Silver badge
    Joke

    Was this published on wikileaks?

    I would have giggled at the irony

  2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    "none of its actions broke its moral or ethical rules" but doesn't say if they broke the law. Telling.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Rules? What rules?

    2. veti Silver badge

      With the way laws are written nowadays, it's very hard to be sure of that either way until a judge tells you.

  3. Commswonk Silver badge

    A Non - Lawyer Writes...

    Is bugging premises / people legal in Ecuador? As the embassy is sovereign Ecuadorian territory then surely UK / EU human rights laws simply won't apply because the alleged offence occurred outside the territorial remit of the UK or EU.

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: A Non - Lawyer Responds...

      It seems embassies are not sovereign territory after all -

      https://pathtoforeignservice.com/is-an-embassy-on-foreign-soil-the-sovereign-territory-of-the-host-country-or-the-embassys-country/

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

      Ecuador does have Human Right Laws of it's own, actually *.

      Unfortunately though as was demonstrated by a famous video of the time, Ecuador is as much America's Little Bitch as Britain or Australia.

      .

      https://videosift.com/video/Honest-Government-Ad-Julian-Assange

      .

      *Rather diluted from the main tenets that the cops shall not drag one into a police cell and beat the shit out of one, into more worthy stuff like gender rights and anti-racism [ as happened with the world Socialist Struggle stifled into Identity Politics ] ---

      https://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Ecuador1.html

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

      It'll be interesting to see what the Judge says. Embassies take a keen interest in their security, and probably also what Assange was up to. They were offering asylum, but presumably with some caveats like not causing too much of a diplomatic headache for Ecuador.

      Some of the recent claims around Assange's health have also been a bit curious given prisoners are entitled to, and given health care. That may be to try and avoid the extradition to the US though.

    4. Malcolm Weir

      Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

      Two issues here: first is whether a non-sovereign-actor domiciled in Spain can legally do whatever they did against non-resident people lawfully present within the EU. I suspect that, since the (sovereign actor) Ecuador requested the data collection with an Ecuadorian building/place of business/Embassy, this is probably OK. The Assangean assertion seems odd, though: he's accusing a Spanish company (hired by Ecuador to provide security for their building) of spying on Assange's defense against extradition. But at the time, he *had* no defense against extradition, as he as a refugee in Ecuador to avoid being extradited in accordance with the law.

      But the second issue is that, once you've collected information, you are now the Spanish equivalent of a data controller. Are you permitted to share that information with third parties (e.g. US intelligence agencies)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

        Its a bit more than that.

        According to the news article, the recording was not done at the behest of the embassy. It was done initially at the behest of the CIA. The data was shared with Ecuador later.

        There also appears to be a breach of GDPR - whatever way you look at it. This company appears to have been contracted to provide security services for the empassy. recording for security is not the same as bugging and it would be a strech to find a legitimate legal basis.

        It might also been a breach of PECR - not so much for assange - but for his visitors. IMEI numbers being taken from visitors, and supplied to the CIA? That seems likely to be a breach as the exmptions off national security wont apply - Assange wasnt going anywhere, and its unlikely his visitors were national security threats - and it was a private company, rather than a state apparatus.

        It appears that the company (a spainish one) also facilitated an illegal breach of client privilege - which applies in the US, UK and the rest of Europe - and this company appears to have facilitated - itself illegal, if it was aware of what was being done.

        The british establishment didn't come out of this well. Stalling a European Investigation Order is basically unprecedented. The only reason they appear to have relented is that to have obstructed further could have jepurdised the extradition hearing in February, if the Spanish judge kicked up a fuss...

        Of course, if the hearing completes before February, then it might be evidence against the extradition (right to a fair trial etc.)

        There is an interesting read here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldselect/ldextradition/126/126.pdf

        Of course, the UK is likely to be the US buttboy on this

    5. aaaa

      Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

      Also not a lawyer...

      But I think this has nothing to do with human rights per se. but his ability to mount a defence to the extradition charges. ie: if those on the opposite side have access to client-in-confidence material from Mr Assange then his rights to a fair hearing are diminished, which the judge would need to take into account.

      In front of this judge in the UK courts the prosecutors would be in contempt if they have this material, or perhaps even if they attempted to access the defences client communications. I also think they'd likely be disbarred.

      How, where, when they obtained it is not so much the issue, as that if you have it, and you are attempting to use it in front of a UK judge, then you are potentially in a lot of trouble.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

        In front of this judge in the UK courts the prosecutors would be in contempt if they have this material, or perhaps even if they attempted to access the defences client communications. I also think they'd likely be disbarred.

        Not sure that's true, but then also not a lawyer. There is no duty of confidentiality for the prosecutor, and there is a duty to truth. But that's perhaps the UK, where we don't have the 'poison tree' doctrine the US does. And this is a Spanish EIO against a Spanish firm contracted to Ecuador operating in London and the rights & privileges of an Australian asylum seeker/refugee.

        So I'm not suprised the EIO took a while to process..

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: A Non - Lawyer Writes...

          "But that's perhaps the UK, where we don't have the 'poison tree' doctrine the US does"

          The UK is pretty much the ONLY member of the EU (and the commonwealth) which has resisted adopting this doctrine - which is rather telling all by itself.

          Of course a Spanish finding that "Fruit of the poison tree" material was used for the extradition proceedings in the UK, would pretty much destroy any hope of a trial in the USA.

          (and the fact that the UK blocked Spanish investigators, WOULD be played up on heavily in a USA court)

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    That was then .... but what about now? Are they still renegade rogue patent black hatted?

    UC Global has previously said none of its actions broke its moral or ethical rules.

    That's just as similar as saying UC Global has previously said none of its actions broke its immoral or unethical rules.

    And Others A'Plenty do not disagree.

    Spying and Spookery is always right dodgy and quite often always played as if one be immune to the consequences of actions taken with impunity imagined to be available. It is always quite often both counter-productive and self-defeating ...and to excessive extreme, invariably Fatal to Right Dodgy Bodies and Assisting Souls.

    Take Care out There. There's No Safe and/or Secure Place on Earth or In Space to Hide Away with Right Dodgy Secrets? Read'em and Weep. Share the Pain and Disquiet for the Blessed Relief of Release of Raw Information to More Intelligent Resources

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: That was then .... but what about now? Are they still renegade rogue patent black hatted?

      Looking at their website they are in all the right places as far as not needing morals or ethics is concerned.

    2. Joe Harrison

      Re: That was then .... but what about now? Are they still renegade rogue patent black hatted?

      Hmm I'm not sure I agree... You can sometimes never say quite often always.

  5. Imhotep

    A Pox On All Their Houses

    It's getting awful hard to pick a side to root for anymore. But I'm still against pineapple on pizza - that's wrong.

    1. murrby

      Re: A Pox On All Their Houses

      Ham and pineapple pizza . . . Just saying

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Hmm - UC Global - that's a familiar name

    Something to do with dirty deeds done dirty cheap - and government-sanctioned spyware, IIRC

    What were they doing providing security at the Equadorian embassy?

  7. NonSSL-Login

    Employing the fox the guard the hens

    A security company that offers security but uses that access to break your security probably won't get many people wanting to use them now that cat is out of the bag.

    CIA and US security services don't care if they fuck up a companies reputation or destroys it from them using and abusing it. Yet all these companies keep doing their dirty work.

    He cannot get a fair extradition trail when the other party has access to his confidential conversations with his own lawyers over the subject.

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