The Government is breaking the law by collecting data on internet activity and phone calls and letting public bodies access these personal details even where there is no suspicion of serious crime and no independent sign-off.
Judges at the Court of Appeal have backed a challenge by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) – a previous law covering state surveillance. DRIPA expired at the end of 2016 but the Government replicated and vastly expanded the same powers in the Investigatory Powers Act, which started to come into force in 2017.
This court ruling means that significant parts of the current, so-called ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ are effectively unlawful.
Tom Watson MP said: “This legislation was flawed from the start. It was rushed through Parliament just before recess without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
“The Government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data.’
Image credit:Beth Cortez-Neaval, Flickr