According to the BBC, it is the first time that GCHQ has faced such action and is based on allegations about government snooping made by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
What appears to have got the ISP’s goat is attacks which were outlined in a series of articles in Der Spiegel. They claim that the Intercept, were illegal and “undermine the goodwill the organisations rely on”.
They say that Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom was targeted by GCHQ and infected with malware to gain access to network infrastructure
GCHQ and the US National Security Agency, where Snowden worked, had a range of network exploitation and intrusion capabilities, including technique that injected data into existing data streams to create connections that will enable the targeted infection of users,
The ISPs claim that the intelligence agencies used an automated system, codenamed Turbine, that allowed them to scale up network implants
German internet exchange points were targeted, allowing agencies to spy on all internet traffic coming through those nodes.
Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said that the widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust everyone put on the internet and greatly endangers the world’s most powerful tool for democracy and free expression.
The ISPs involved in the action are UK-based GreenNet, Riseup (US), Greenhost (Netherlands), Mango (Zimbabwe), Jinbonet (South Korea), May First/People Link (US)and the Chaos Computer Club (Germany).
GCHQ insists that all its work was conducted in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities were “authorised, necessary and proportionate.”