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.
- Letter from MI5 Director to IPC, 11 March 2019
- IPCO Inspection Report, 29 March 2019
- Annex H, Section II of MI5 Handbook, 1 April 2019
- IPC’s decision, 5 April 2019
- Letter from MI5 Director General to Home Secretary, 24 April 2019
- Letter from IPC to MI5 Director General, 26 April 2019
- IPCO Inspection Report, 26 April 2019
- Letter from MI5 to IPCO, 3 May 2019
- Letter from IPC to MI5 Director General, 8 May 2019
- Letter from MI5 to IPC, 15 May 2019
- MI5 report on searches, October 2017
- Summary of independent review of MI5 compliance, June 2019
- IPCO Inspection Report, 22 July 2019
- TE2 update from MI5 to IPCO
- Compliance Improvement Review
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