NEWS RELEASE: CJEU hearing could find IPBill incompatible with EU law
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will today hold an emergency hearing that will have implications for the Investigatory Powers Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament.
The CJEU has been asked to explain its April 2014 Judgment in a case brought by Digital Rights Ireland, which ruled blanket data retention severely interfered with rights to respect for private life and the protection of personal data. The Court also declared the Data Retention Directive invalid.
Open Rights Group’s Legal Director, Myles Jackman said:
“The Court found that you shouldn’t collect people’s data unless there is a specific reason and that there should be strict controls for allowing access to this data. With both DRIPA and the IPBill, the British government has ignored this call to respect our human rights.
We look forward to the CJEU’s clarification of their ruling and hope that it rejects once and for all the blanket collection of our personal data.”
ORG intervened in the case with Privacy International whose Camilla Graham Wood said:
"The UK, in enacting legislation that is almost identical to the European Data Retention Directive which the CJEU ruled unlawful, is mandating data retention on a widespread, indiscriminate and untargeted basis. Such a broad and wholesale retention of communications data is in violation of European law.”
Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA)
Three months after the Digital Rights Ireland Judgment, the British government fast-tracked the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) through Parliament. This enabled the continued retention of personal communications data by Communications Service Providers in the UK.
DRIPA was challenged by the MPs David Davis and Tom Watson in a judicial review brought by Liberty with ORG and Privacy International acting as intervenors. The High Court ruled that DRIPA was inconsistent with EU law.
The ruling referred to two criteria laid down by the CJEU in the Digital Rights Ireland case:
1. DRIPA did not provide clear and precise rules about access to and use of the retained communications data.
2. Under DRIPA it is not a mandatory requirement for a court or an independent administrative body to authorise access to the retained data.
When the Government appealed the High Court’s decision, the Court of Appeal asked the CJEU court to explain how the DRI ruling should be applied in the UK.
Investigatory Powers Bill
The IPB would extend the data that is retained by Communication Service Providers to include Internet Connection Records, which have been broadly described as records of users’ browsing history. The CJEU previously said that data should not be retained without a specific reason.
The IPB would also continue to allow the police and government departments to authorise internally access to this data. This would fail to meet the criteria that independent courts or bodies should authorise access to data.
From Open Rights Group
British Home Secretary Theresa May is pushing ahead with her plan to get into law the investigatory power's bill popularly called the snooper's charter and she is doing this in spite of opposition. The Home Office claims that the 'majority' of concerns have been addressed but there is still stiff parliamentary opposition. Tuesday as May gets on with sacrificing what freedoms are left and introducing legislation which will extend powers to police enabling them to hack computers and phones and force Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to maintain records of each user's internet browsing activity the Open Rights goup has issued the following press release:
Open Rights Group has responded to the publication of the Investigatory Powers Bill:
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
“The Home Office is treating the British public with contempt if it thinks it’s acceptable to rush a Bill of this magnitude through Parliament. MPs and peers need sufficient time to consider the fundamental threats to our privacy and security posed by the Investigatory Powers Bill. Many have their minds elsewhere, dealing with important decisions about Europe.”
“On first reading, the revised Bill barely pays lip service to the concerns raised by the committees that scrutinised the draft Bill. If passed, it would mean that the UK has one of the most draconian surveillance laws of any democracy with mass surveillance powers to monitor every citizen's browsing history.”
Eric King, Director of the Don't Spy on Us coalition, said:
“Rather than a full redraft, we've been given cosmetic tweaks to a heavily criticised, deeply intrusive bill.”
“Reshuffling safeguards, without meaningfully improving protections, authorisations or oversight does nothing to address widespread concerns about mass surveillance. The unsettling absence of a robust, technical detailed, evaluation of those bulk powers means the case still hasn't been made, and Parliament won't have the information it needs to do it's job.”
“There simply isn’t time for proper scrutiny of all these powers in the timeframe proposed. More than 100 experts called on the Home Office to put on the brakes. The government must think again.”
Experts call for delay
Over 100 people and organisations have signed a public letter calling for the Government to stop rushing the Bill through Parliament. The signatories include MPs, academics, lawyers, human rights activists representatives from the tech industry: Telegraph
Report to MPs
The Don’t Spy on Us coalition have published a report for MPs, summarising the flaws that experts have identified.
About Open Rights Group
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Founded in 2005, we have over 3000 paying supporters and a movement of 36,000 activists.
Winner of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2012
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