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ShareIPA update – Government wins latest legal battle on controversial data legislation

Regular readers of our blog will know of the longstanding trials and tribulations of the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) – often referred to in the press as ‘The Snooper’s Charter’.

In the latest twist the Government has successfully fended off a challenge from Human Rights campaigners Liberty who argued that the mass retention of public communications data permitted under the IPA didn’t come with the necessary safeguards against the possible abuse of power by the state. 

The IPA requires ISPs to store their customers communications data including email activity, phone use and Internet browsing history for up to 12 months so security services have the ability to access it should they deem it necessary in combating serious crime – although the content itself can only be released with a warrant.

Previous rulings by the UK High Court had found the IPA to be incompatible with the EU’s European Convention on Human Rights and demanded that the Government amend the legislation – however this week’s ruling now seems to suggest the tides have now changed in the Government’s favour.

In their Ruling Summary Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holgate said: “We have reached the conclusion that the safeguards in Investigatory Powers Act are sufficient to prevent the risk of abuse of discretionary power and the Act is therefore not incompatible with the (ECHR) on the ground that it does not comply with the concept of law.”

Source: ISP Review – Liberty Lose High Court Challenge vs UK Internet Snooping Law

The verdict comes despite Liberty highlighting in its legal challenge that in June of this year the investigatory powers commissioner Lord Justice Fulford had identified that MI5 had failed to adhere to the safeguards set out in the IPA.

Source: The Guardian – Liberty loses high court challenge to snooper’s charter

Liberty has already stated its intention to appeal the decision and what is absolutely sure is that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of the IPA in the courts – we’ll be sure to keep you updated on any developments and what it means for ISPs in the UK. 

Related articles:

Opinion Blog: Where does the latest High Court judgement leave the IPA?

Opinion Blog: Does the latest European court ruling expose the cracks in the IPA?

Opinion Blog: Do the proposed IPA changes go far enough?

Opinion Blog: New Data Protection Bill & IPA – A match made in hell

Opinion Blog: You think the IPA is bad – it could be worse, you could be in the USA!

Opinion Blog: Looks like the IPA and EU can’t co-exist after all!

Opinion Blog: GDPR: Friend or Foe?

Opinion Blog: ISPs: Still a ‘Mere Conduit’ or now the Data Police?

Further information: 

BBC News Online: Rights group loses mass surveillance appeal in High Court

ISP Review: Liberty Lose High Court Challenge vs UK Internet Snooping Law

The Guardian – Liberty loses high court challenge to snooper’s charter

The Register: UK High Court rules Snooper’s Charter doesn’t break Euro human rights laws

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