Human rights group Liberty has been given permission to challenge part of the government's Investigatory Powers Act in court. The act, which is often referred to as the Snoopers' Charter will force ISPs and telecoms companies to retain records of phone calls and visits to websites for a year.
The European Court of Justice has already ruled that some aspects of the DRIPA were illegal, but that act expired at the end of 2016 and has been replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act, which goes even further.
Three parts of the legislation are being challenged, they are:
- Bulk hacking - which allows agencies of the government to hack onto devices regardless of the owner's involvement (or not) in a crime.
- Bulk interception of communications - allowing the government to read data that travels over the internet as well as monitor phone calls. Again, there's no requirement that the person has commited a criminal act
- Bulk personal datasets - would allow agencies to collect databases from anywhere to build a database of a specific person or people.
Liberty's Martha Spurrier said “We’re delighted to have been granted permission to challenge this authoritarian surveillance regime.“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 also went on to say "our Government’s obsession with storing vast amounts of sensitive information about every single one of us looks dangerously irresponsible. If they truly want to keep us safe and protect our cybersecurity, they urgently need to face up to reality and focus on closely monitoring those who pose a serious threat".
The Snoopers' Charter should deeply worry everyone even if you've "got nothing to hide". Even the most innocent of people could have data stored, and it's been proven time and again that databases can end up in the wrong hands, and the information the government could store would be potentially devastating if used against individuals.
Liberty raised £50,000 to fund the case via crowdfunding. [via: Liberty]