MPs challenge snooping laws in High Court

David Davis and Tom Watson's complaint against DRIPA to be heard by High Court today

Court

The High Court will today hear a complaint against UK surveillance laws, led by a pair of MPs, 

MPs David Davis and Tom Watson have teamed with rights group Liberty, which will make the case that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) is contrary to the Human Rights Act. 

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DRIPA was brought in last year as "emergency legislation" after the European Court of Justice ruled that the existing EU directive on data retention was invalid, and called for the UK's existing law, RIPA, to be reviewed. 

DRIPA means the Home Secretary can force communications companies to keep message data for a year. The law was pushed through after backroom negotiations between the three major party leaders in July, becoming law in three days - which Liberty said denied time for "proper parliamentary scrutiny, amendment or even debate". 

"The executive dominance of Parliament in rushing through this legislation using a wholly fabricated 'emergency' made a mockery of parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law, and showed a staggering disregard for the entire population's right to privacy," said Emma Norton, Legal Officer for Liberty.

"It is thanks to the Human Rights Act that we are able to challenge the Government's actions the same Government which now seeks to axe that very piece of legislation and, by doing so, curb the British people's ability to do so in future."

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The legal challenge comes as the new Conservative government is looking to expand its surveillance powers under the Investigatory Powers Bill, allowing bulk interception of messages, Liberty said.

That push for more surveillance powers comes as the US takes a step back, with the law allowing the NSA's surveillance powers expiring last Sunday. 

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