In a judgment handed down this morning, judges backed a challenge brought by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson in a long-running battle against state surveillance rules.These laws allow for ISPs and telcos to retain communications data for up to a year and for public authorities to get access to this information. But campaigners have argued it fails to properly restrict this retention and access.Today’s ruling refers to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, which expired at the end of 2016, but will have significant implications for its successor, the Investigatory Powers Act.The so-called Snoopers’ Charter was already under pressure following a landmark 2016 ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union, and today’s judgment adds weight to this.In the document, the judges also note: “As [Ben] Jaffey QC, on behalf of the first respondent, pointed out in the course of his oral submissions, that the fact that DRIPA has been repealed does not make this a pointless exercise”.Their ruling was that DRIPA “was inconsistent with EU law” because it did not limit access to retained communications data solely to the purpose of fighting serious crime.It also broke the law because police forces and public authorities could themselves grant access to retained data – rather than access being subject to prior review by a court or an independent administrative authority.
Especially the last bit: rather than access being subject to prior review by a court or an independent administrative authority.
Come on! How hard is it to ask a judge after proving some sort of probable cause? It’s investigation that gets the bad guys. Not being a police state.