April 21, 2017 | Pam Cowburn

Government must respond to CJEU ruling on surveillance

Open Rights Group has responded to the publication of operational cases for the extensive surveillance powers laid out in the Investigatory Powers Act.

Executive Director Jim Killock said:

“The government still hasn’t stated how it will respond to a CJEU ruling, which calls into question the legal basis for the current data retention regime.

“The CJEU said that blanket data retention was not permissible and should only be used for serious crime. It also said that there needed to be independent authorisation for access to communications data.

“The Government has yet to respond publicly to this ruling. It’s vital that the Government clarifies its position before the election.”

ORG will deliver a letter, signed by over 1,200 ORG supporters, to the Secretary of State and Shadow Ministers on Monday, urging the Government to present its plans before the election.  

The CJEU judgment relates to a case brought by Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson MP, over intrusive data retention powers in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA). Open Rights Group intervened in the case together with Privacy International, arguing that DRIPA, which was rushed through parliament in 2014, was incompatible with EU law. While the judgment will no longer affect DRIPA, which expired at the end of 2016, it has major implications for the Investigatory Powers Act.

In March, it appeared that the Government has accepted part of the CJEU ruling, after ORG noticed a tender on the UK Government Digital Marketplace, which called for businesses to help develop a new “independent communications data authorising body.

However, the Government has still not made a public statement about how it will respond to the judgment. 

The updated cases for operational powers are here.

For more information, email press@openrightsgroup.org