Challenge to surveillance powers rejected


The Divisional Court (Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holgate) has handed down judgment today in an important challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016: Liberty v (1) Secretary of State for the Home Department (2) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. This is a claim by Liberty, asserting that a number of surveillance powers in the 2016 Act (popularly known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”), used by the Intelligence Services and others, are contrary to EU law and to Convention Rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Liberty challenges powers to conduct bulk interception of communications; to acquire communications data in bulk; to retain, and for public authorities such as the police to acquire, retained communications data; to conduct “thematic” and bulk equipment interference (i.e. “hacking”); and to retain and examine bulk personal datasets (such as e.g. travel records). Liberty says that these powers are contrary to Articles 8 and 10 ECHR (i.e. the right to respect for private life, and freedom of expression). In today’s judgment, the Divisional Court rejects Liberty’s Human Rights Act challenge.

The judgment can be found here.

The annex to the judgment can be found here.

Julian Milford of 11KBW acted for the Government in the case.