As Feared, UK Data Retention Act Passed In Record Time; Fight Back Has Already Begun
from the democratic-banditry dept
It was just a week ago that Techdirt warned about a new “Snooper’s Charter” that would be rammed through the British Parliament in record time. As feared, that has happened, and the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill — DRIP to its friends — has received the Royal Assent and is now law in the UK. That’s the bad news; the good news is that the fight back has already begun. Today, the UK’s Open Rights Group (ORG) announced that it would be challenging DRIP in the courts:
Whilst Parliament swallowed Theresa May?s tired arguments that “terrorist plots will go undetected” and “these are powers and capabilities that exist today”, she failed to make a compelling argument that holding everyone’s data is necessary and proportionate. Frankly, the Government was evasive and duplicitous, and they were in a hurry to cover their tracks.
Tom Watson MP described the process as “democratic banditry, resonant of a rogue state. The people who put this shady deal together should be ashamed.”
And the European Court’s decision was very clear: blanket data retention is unlawful and violates the right to privacy.
The courts will have the final say on whether DRIP breaches human rights. And no matter what David Cameron believes, the UK has international obligations. The European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and our own Human Rights Act — all exist to defend our rights and are where we will be able to challenge DRIP.
And that’s what we will do.
Although that’s hugely welcome, it’s not surprising: bringing these kinds of cases is very much why ORG was set up. The following, though, is unexpected:
As the controversial Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) slips its way through the House of Commons and into the House of Lords, the outspoken boss of broadband ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP), Adrian Kennard, has promised to use “all practical legal means” in order to protect their customers from state sponsored Internet snooping.
Now, that may just be one ISP, but the example of iiNet in Australia, which has been fighting on behalf of its users there for years, shows what can be done. It would be nice if more UK ISPs did the same, but even if they don’t, it’s likely that others will join the fight against DRIP and its undemocratic passage through the UK Parliament, given the outrage this has caused — in some quarters, at least.