Mass surveillance and Snoopers' Charter

Government concedes need for Snoopers’ Charter to protect rights in response to Tom Watson’s landmark legal challenge – but must go further

Posted on 30 Nov 2017

Government proposals only partially comply with landmark judgment.

  • Amber Rudd has today proposed changes to the new Investigatory Powers Act in response to successful legal claim brought by Tom Watson MP
  • But Government proposals only partially comply with landmark judgment

Tom Watson MP said: “The current legislation fails to protect people’s fundamental rights or respect the rule of law. That’s what my legal challenge proved, and I’m glad Amber Rudd is making significant concessions today. But I will be asking the court to go further, because today’s proposals from the Home Office are still flawed.

“Ministers aren’t above the law – they don’t get to pick and choose which rights violations they address and they can’t haggle with the courts to avoid properly protecting people’s freedom. All of the fundamental safeguards demanded by the court must now be implemented.”

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said: “It’s encouraging to see the Government acknowledge the need to fix a law that breaches people’s rights – but these plans are a cop-out.

“The Government has defined the ‘serious crime’ exception absurdly broadly – to include crimes punishable by only a few months in prison. It fails to propose the robust system of independent oversight that is so vital to protect our rights and ignores other critical changes demanded by the court.

“People in the UK deserve a surveillance law that keeps our country free and democratic – that protects our privacy, our freedom of speech, our right to protest and our free press. This is window dressing for indiscriminate surveillance of the public, when ministers should be getting on with making the law fit for purpose.”

I'm looking for advice on this

Did you know Liberty offers free human rights legal advice?

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

Did you find this content useful?

Help us make our content even better by letting us know whether you found this page useful or not

Need advice or information?