UK court rules mass sur­veil­lance bill un­law­ful

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Al-Jazeera

Bri­tain’s Court of Ap­peals has ruled the UK govern­ment is break­ing the law with its mea­sures to col­lect in­ter­net ac­tiv­ity and phone records of its cit­i­zens. The Data Re­ten­tion and In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act (DRIPA) was orig­i­nally passed in 2014 after the EU Court of Jus­tice ruled the pre­vi­ous data col­lec­tion scheme was un­law­ful. DRIPA al­lowed for the col­lec­tion of phone and in­ter­net records of UK cit­i­zens by com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies. The in­for­ma­tion stored by the com­pa­nies con­sisted of lo­ca­tion his­tory and de­tails about calls, emails and text mes­sages. Ac­cord­ing to the UK govern­ment, the stored data was only to be used in crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions and with suf­fi­cient pre­sump­tion the per­son be­ing in­ves­ti­gated was in­volved in a crime. How­ever, crit­ics said the DRIPA act vi­o­lated the pri­vacy of UK cit­i­zens and al­lowed au­thor­i­ties and other pub­lic bod­ies to ac­cess the col­lected data with­out proper over­sight. The Court of Ap­peals agreed with the crit­ics, say­ing DRIPA was “in­con­sis­tent with EU law”, and that ac­cess to the data was “not re­stricted solely to fight­ing crime”. Tom Wat­son, the Labour MP who chal­lenged DRIPA and Lib­erty, the civil lib­er­ties or­gan­i­sa­tion that rep­re­sented Wat­son in court, wel­comed the de­ci­sion in a joint state­ment. “This leg­is­la­tion was flawed from the start. It was rushed through Par­lia­ment just be­fore re­cess with­out proper par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny,” Wat­son said in a state­ment. “No politi­cian is above the law. “This judg­ment tells min­is­ters in crys­tal clear terms that they are breach­ing the pub­lic’s hu­man rights. The lat­est in­car­na­tion of the snooper’s char­ter, the In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act, must be changed,” Lib­erty said in its state­ment.

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