Liberty wins right to challenge Snooper’s Charter

Campaign group's crowdfunded challenge gets High Court go-ahead

The High Court has granted human rights charity Liberty the green light to challenge the Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the Snooper's Charter.

Liberty will contest the mass collection of everybody's communications data and internet history, which it believes breaches British people's rights.

The act compels telcos and ISPs to retain and hand over logs of everybody's emails, phone calls, texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at will.

The European Court of Justice issued a judgement last December in a separate case brought by Tom Watson MP, represented by Liberty lawyers. It ruled that the same powers in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) the previous law governing UK state surveillance were unlawful. Liberty launched its challenge in the wake of this decision.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

While the act received Parliament's approval last year, Liberty contends that the government failed to provide evidence that surveillance of everybody in the UK was lawful or necessary. It added that whistleblowers and experts warned that the powers would make it more difficult for security services to do their jobs effectively.

Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty, today said the organisation was "delighted" to have been granted permission to challenge the law.

"It's become clearer than ever in recent months that this law is not fit for purpose. The government doesn't need to spy on the entire population to fight terrorism. All that does is undermine the very rights, freedoms and democracy terrorists seek to destroy," she said. 

"And as increasingly frequent hacking attacks bring businesses and public bodies to their knees, our government's obsession with storing vast amounts of sensitive information about every single one of us looks dangerously irresponsible."

The human rights organisation can also apply for a cost-capping order, which, if granted, the case will be listed for a full hearing in due course. The High Court has also allowed Liberty to seek permission to challenge three other parts of the Act once the government publishes further codes of practice, or by March 2018 at the latest.

Its challenge is being crowdfunded via CrowdJustice, raising more than 50,000 from the public in less than a week in January to exceed an initial target of 10,000.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Over 200,000 people signed a petition calling for the repeal of the Investigatory Powers Act after it became law late last year.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/policy-legislation/33407/what-is-the-investigatory-powers-act-2016
Policy & legislation

What is the Investigatory Powers Act 2016?

8 Aug 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/354526/memes-and-viking-funerals-the-internet-reacts-to-the
Microsoft Windows

Memes and Viking funerals: The internet reacts to the death of Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020