Last summer, a coalition of privacy groups and service providers took legal action against the British Government regarding concerns over covert cyber spying. During the hearing, new information surfaced that suggested the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) discreetly changed the law recently, enabling it to access private networks without being prosecuted.
The amendment in question was apparently altered some two months before anyone was told, according to the legal team representing the privacy groups and service providers.
While the British government denies that any changes have been made that would “increase or expand” the ability for intelligence agencies in the UK to conduct cyber investigations, public-interest group representative Ben Jaffey claims the changes were hidden in plain sight on purpose. The apparently hidden changes finally passed through the parliamentary process in March 2015 when alterations were being made to the Computer Misuse Act, and are now bringing the ongoing privacy/surveillance claim against the government to a sudden halt.
Eric King, the deputy director of one of the groups involved in the claim against the GCHQ said the "underhand and undemocratic manner in which the government is seeking to make lawful GCHQ’s hacking operations is disgraceful.”
While the case itself wont entirely hinge on the newly surfaced amendments, it left the prosecution with very little time to prepare, having only been made aware of the changes some hours before entering the court room. Not to mention the implications this ammednment could have on other ongoing investigations and the privacy of the public at large.