In a long awaited decision, The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the GCHQ, the hub of the United Kingdom's surveillance program, violated human rights by failing to provide sufficient safeguards against illegal privacy breaches. The Government Communications Headquarters has been spying on UK Citizens for years, but the general public wasn't aware of the surveillance until Edward Snowden blew the issue wide open in 2013. Considering the issues of "bulk interception of communications, intelligence sharing and obtaining of communications data from communications service providers," the court found that GCHQ violated article 8 of the European convention on human rights. Snowden himself praised the ruling, while government officials claim legislation introduced in 2016 already addresses some of the issues. The judges said: "While the court does not doubt that related communications data is an essential tool for the intelligence services in the fight against terrorism and serious crime, it does not consider that the authorities have struck a fair balance between the competing public and private interests by exempting it in its entirety from the safeguards applicable to the searching and examining of content."