UK court rules mass surveillance bill unlawful
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.