The UK has the most intrusive mass surveillance regime of any democratic country, and the security services are able to spy on everyone whether or not we’re suspected of criminal activity. The Investigatory Powers Act – also known as the Snoopers’ Charter – must be torn up.
The Investigatory Powers Act – also known as the Snoopers’ Charter – allows State authorities to collect information about everything we do and say online and order private companies to store it.
The Act grants them wide-ranging powers to scoop up and store all of our emails, texts, calls, location data and internet history. They can also hack into our phones and computers and create large ‘personal datasets’ on us – all without needing to suspect us of any criminal wrongdoing.
And they can do it in ‘bulk’, meaning to huge numbers of us at any one time.
WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?
Much of our lives plays out through our communications and online activities.
So the information agencies can get their hands on paints an incredibly detailed picture of who we are, who we talk to, where we go and what we think.
It can reveal our health concerns, political views, religious beliefs, relationships and all of our movements – leaving nothing private.
And by storing all the information in ‘personal datasets’ or hacking our devices and leaving them permanently damaged, they are putting our most sensitive personal data at risk of attack from others.
The sweeping extent of the powers in the Investigatory Powers Act means this could happen – or already be happening – to any one of us.
WHAT IS LIBERTY DOING ABOUT IT?
We’re fighting two legal cases against mass surveillance.
Our “10 NGOs” case challenges the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) – the law which was replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act. We’re taking the case alongside nine other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In September 2018 the European Court of Human Rights agreed with us that parts of RIPA were unlawful because they breached the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
The People vs The Snoopers’ Charter
The People vs The Snoopers’ Charter is our case against the Investigatory Powers Act – backed by public donations of more than £55,000. Again, we’re arguing that powers in the Act violate rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
In April 2018, we won in the High Court, which said that powers ordering private companies to store everyone’s communications data were unlawful and the Government had to change the law.
But in August 2019, the same court said that using “bulk warrants” to obtain and store our information is lawful. We disagree and will appeal the court’s decision.
We’re challenging other parts of the Act too, which will be in court at some point in the future.
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