Liberty wins right to challenge bulk surveillance under Investigatory Powers Act

By agency reporter
December 1, 2018

The civil liberties and human rights organisation Liberty has defeated the Government’s attempt to put wide-ranging surveillance powers beyond scrutiny, and won a right to proceed with its full challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act.

In a decision released on 29 November 2018, the High Court agreed that Liberty should have the right to judicial review of the law, which gives a wide range of state agencies broad powers to collect our electronic communications and records of our internet usage in bulk and without individualised suspicion, hack devices, and create large datasets that include data of people not suspected of any crime or other wrong-doing. It rejected the claim that Liberty’s case was invalid.

This is the second part of Liberty’s challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act. In April, Liberty won the first part of this case, and the High Court found the Government’s power to order private companies to store communications data, including internet history, so that state agencies can access it, breached our right to privacy. ( The Government has since had to amend this part of the Investigatory Powers Act.

Liberty can now seek a judicial review of all grounds not previously ruled upon, and look to end the Government’s intrusive and unnecessary bulk surveillance of everyone, regardless of wrongdoing. The case is expected in the High Court next year. 

Megan Goulding, Liberty solicitor said: “This is a major step forward in our ongoing fight to put an end to mass surveillance by the state, and the latest in a series of important defeats on this subject for the Government. The Government must urgently reassess the invasively wide powers it has to snoop on our lives, and develop a proportionate surveillance regime that better balances public safety with respect for privacy.”

* Liberty


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