Human rights organisation Amnesty International has hit out at the UK intelligence community in the wake of revelations that GCHQ illegally intercepted its digital communications, saying now "everyone is fair game" as far as electronic surveillance is concerned.
The international organisation has said in the aftermath of information revealed in a tribunal responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services that it is clear other NGOs are being spied on.
John Dalhusian, Amnesty International's Europe and central Asia director told IBTimes UK that he found the illegal spying "extremely alarming".
"The inference from this is that there are many more NGOs who have also had their communications intercepted in this way and they just don't know," he said.
The illegal eavesdropping information was brought to light after the Investigatory Powers Tribunal corrected a previous judgement that stated an Egyptian NGO and a South African non-profit organisation were being illegally spied on.
On 1 July the tribunal made it clear that it was incorrect and that Amnesty International rather than the Egyptian organisation had had its communications illegally retained and examined.
The abuse of surveillance powers was said to have arisen after information was held on databases for longer than was permitted.
"The only reason we know that we have been spied on is because they kept data for longer than they were allowed to. Had they not breached this really, quite frankly, small technicality we would not know," Dalhusian said.
In the aftermath of the spying revelations from GCHQ, the government's controversial electronic intelligence gathering agency, Anmesty International is calling for a wider public inquiry into who id being spied on and why.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general, said: "It's outrageous that what has been often presented as being the domain of despotic rulers has been done on British soil, by the British government."
Dalhusian told IBTimes UK "It is extremely alarming that it has powers to engage in this kind of surveillance of organisations like NGOs, like Amnesty International, without any meaningful independent judicial scrutiny whatsoever.
"It is a massive problem in the way the law works and it is revealing of an attitude within the security and surveillance community that everyone is fair game and that must be alarming," he added.
Amnesty International has said the revelations underscore the urgent need for significant legal reform, including proper pre-judicial authorisation and meaningful oversight of the use of surveillance powers by the UK security services.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has not revealed why the intelligence services were monitoring Amnesty International.