Mass surveillance and Snoopers' Charter

Legal Challenge: MI5 breaches of Investigatory Powers Act

Liberty and Privacy International are taking MI5 to court.

During our case against the Investigatory Powers Act, it emerged that MI5 had potentially unlawfully stored and mishandled people’s data for a decade, including not deleting it when it should have done. For a long time, MI5 didn’t report its lawbreaking to the surveillance watchdog, and provided false information to get warrants and spy on us.

These actions breach the safeguards put in place to protect our right to privacy.

We argued these breaches show the Investigatory Powers Act isn’t fit for purpose. If state agencies can knowingly breach safeguards for years, undetected, the safeguards are clearly inadequate.

Our data shouldn’t have been collected in the first place. To then unlawfully store it is scandalous. We hoped to expose the scope of MI5’s lawlessness and help prevent future misuse of the public’s data.

In January 2023, the Tribunal ruled in our favour and declared that MI5 and the Home Office had broken the law and breached our right to privacy. The Tribunal concluded that for years MI5 unlawfully stored our data and unlawfully kept this secret from oversight bodies. And for years the Home Office unlawfully failed to investigate MI5’s lawbreaking and granted MI5 unlawful surveillance warrants.

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?