‘Snoopers charter’ in tatters following ruling by European Court of Justice

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© Cédric Puisney - Wikimedia
European Court of Justice.

PRIOR to his rehabilitation back into the Tory hierarchy, David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union mounted a legal challenge against British government interception of online messages.

Acting in concert with the deputy leader of the Labour party Tom Watson and supported by Liberty, the Law Society, the Open Rights Group and Privacy International, the initial complaint was upheld but the government, then under the control of David Cameron took the matter to appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg and the appeal was rejected on December 21.

The EU’s highest court has ruled that the “General and indiscriminate retention” of emails and electronic communications by governments is illegal which brings into question the activities of GCHQ and the Investigatory Powers Act.

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The court found that it was perfectly acceptable to act to intercept information which was being produced by suspected criminals and terrorists but it is totally unacceptable to do so with everyone’s communications.

As soon as Mr Davis became a minister, he distanced himself officially from the case and he must find it strange to be the architect of the downfall of a piece of important government legislation although whilst it has to take note of the current decision, once Britain has left the EU, then it would be perfectly possible to re-introduce the and implement the Act.

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