Liberty, the human rights campaign group represented Watson in the case.
The ruling meant significant parts of theInvestigatory Powers Act 2016 – known as the snooper’s charter – are effectively unlawful and must be urgently changed.
The UK’s Court of Appeal ruled that the law did not adequately restrict access to this personal information and so was “inconsistent with EU law.” for Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) which was allowing police officers to authorize their own access to citizens’ phone records and web browsing history even in the case of non-serious crimes.
With DRIPA struck down as unlawful, it’s likely the government will now have to scale back parts of the Investigatory Powers Act, otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter, which replaced DRIPA in 2016.
In a statement Watson praised the ruling.
“This legislation was flawed from the start. It was rushed through Parliament just before recess without proper parliamentary scrutiny,” said Watson.
“The government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data.”
Martha Spurrier, director of human rights group Liberty who represented Watson in this case, said: “Yet again a UK court has ruled the government’s extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgment tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public’s human rights. The latest incarnation of the snoopers’ charter, the Investigatory Powers Act, must be changed.”
“No politician is above the law. When will the government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?”
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