July 17, 2015 | Pam Cowburn

High Court rules that DRIPA is unlawful

Open Rights Group welcomes today's High Court Judgment that the key parts of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) are inconsistent with European Union law.


ORG intervened in the successful judicial review brought by David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP, who were represented by Liberty. ORG emphasised the important EU legislation regulating the retention of communications data and the clear legal requirements laid down by the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in the Digital Rights Ireland case that struck down the Data Retention Directive.

ORG’s Executive Director Jim Killock said:

“When the Government forced DRIPA through Parliament a year ago, they denied our parliamentarians and the British public a proper debate about how our personal data is being kept by telecoms companies and accessed by the state.

“As many of us pointed out at the time, this was inconsistent with the findings of the CJEU that blanket data retention intruded on our right to privacy. Now that the High Court has agreed that DRIPA does not comply with EU law, we hope that the Government will listen to these concerns.

“In autumn, the Government will present the Investigatory Powers Bill to parliament. This should not be, as rumoured, an attempt by the Home Secretary to re-introduce the Snoopers' Charter, but an opportunity to introduce an effective surveillance law that is compatible with human rights.”

While ORG welcomes Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Collins’s judgment, we disagree with their intrepretation of the CJEU ruling. They claim that this ruling did not seek to constrain the retention of communications data. ORG disagrees. We believe that the CJEU was clear that blanket data retention severely interferes with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data.

The government is expected to lay a new Bill before Parliament in autumn 2015. It is believed that this Bill may call for an increase in the kinds of data that ISPs will be expected to keep about their customers, including weblogs. ORG believes that this would also be incompatible with EU law.

DRIPA will remain in force until the end of March 2016.

For more information, email press@openrightsgroup.org or call 020 7096 1079.