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High Court: Data Retention Act is unlawful

Posted by malcolm on Friday, July 17th, 2015 at 13:31

The High Court has ruled that key provisions of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2015 (DRIPA) are unlawful, contravening the privacy and data protection guarantees in Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

DRIPA was passed as emergency legislation, on an accelerated timetable with very little Parliamentary scrutiny, in response to the European Court striking down the Data Retention Directive for incompatibility with the same constitutional guarantees. The case was brought by two MPs: David Davis (Conservative) and Tom Watson (Labour), supported by civil liberties pressure group Liberty.

The court had two major criticisms of the Act. Firstly, it provided for blanket collection of communications data but did not limit the use of that data to the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime. Secondly, disclosure of communications data is not subject to court authorisation, but approved by law enforcement officers themselves.

Update: Instant reaction from the independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation.

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