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Civil liberties group Liberty has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a UK High Court challenge to the bulk powers contained within new domestic surveillance law.
The Investigatory Powers Act — dubbed the ‘Snoopers’ charter by critics — was passed by parliament last year, gaining royal assent in November, as the government sought to shore up capabilities contained within earlier ’emergency’ surveillance legislation, aka DRIPA, which contained a sunset clause meaning those powers expired at the end of 2016.
DRIPA - Parliament - Scrutiny - IP - Bill
DRIPA was branded draconian and undemocratic when it was rushed through parliament with minimal scrutiny. The IP bill faired little better, attracting criticism about its impact on privacy and overly intrusive powers from even the hawkish Intelligence and security committee.
And despite what was technically a lengthier parliamentary scrutiny process than DRIPA, critics continued to warn the legislation handed unprecedented surveillance powers to the authorities with inadequate checks and balances to protect privacy and civil liberties.
IP - Act - Investigatory - Capabilities - DRIPA
The IP Act also expands on the investigatory capabilities enabled by DRIPA by including a provision to require ISPs to log all the websites and services that all users connect to for a full year so that the information can be provided to authorities on demand — including to a wide range of government agencies (not just to security and law enforcement agencies). No warrant is needed for accessing the data.
This is one of the bulk powers Liberty is objecting to in its planned High Court challenge, warning that these so-called Internet Connection Records (ICRs) provide “a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies”.
Court - Review - Bulk - Powers - IP
It also wants a High Court judicial review of three other bulk powers enshrined in the IP Act that it argues also breach the public’s rights — namely:
Bulk hacking — aka the ability for police and security agencies to access, control and...
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