The Snooper's Charter Has Been Paused Thanks to That EU Court Ruling

By Tom Pritchard on at

Thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Justice back in December, the government has hit the pause button on the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill - better known as the Snooper's Charter.

As most of you will be aware of by now, the Snooper's Charter gave some legal backing to mass surveillance systems, letting government snoops collect and retain information about your online activities - just in case it can be used to catch a single criminal hiding in his grandma's attic.

December's ruling declared that the bill was unlawful, due to is being "general and indiscriminate". Three months later and our government has confirmed that the legal conflict means it has yet to start collecting information in bulk. A government spokesperson made the following statement to Ars Technica:

"The European Court of Justice handed down a judgement relating to the UK's communications data regime in December. The matter must now be considered by the domestic courts and the consultation on the communications data code of practice has been deferred until this has taken place."

A new draft set of codes of practice were published by The Home Office on 23rd of February, and it in was mention of a public consultation set to take place between now and early April. The purpose being to lay out "processes and safeguards" regarding mass surveillance power. It was also noticed that the codewords for "communications data" have been removed, meaning we can't see how the government will coordinate with internet providers when the time comes to collect data.

So for now, the government hasn't been storing any extra data on you or your internet browsing habits. You can be sure that the Snooper's Charter will be back in the near future, though. Brexit will be here soon, and after that the EU's opinion is moot - meaning the government can go back to cataloguing your porn habits and generally doing whatever it pleases. [Ars Technica via IBTimes]