from the will-it-matter-after-brexit? dept
Over the summer, we noted that the Advocate General for the European Court of Justice had sort of punted on the issue of whether or not the UK’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIPA) was actually legal. Thankfully, the final ruling is much clearer: “general and indiscriminate retention” of emails and other electronic communications is illegal in the EU according to the court. The only thing that is allowed is targeted interception, used to combat “serious crime.”
This is a pretty big deal, as the original recommendation from the Advocate General had suggested that DRIPA might be found legal. Of course, DRIPA is in the process of being superseded by the even worse Investigatory Powers Bill, better known as the Snooper’s Charter. If DRIPA violates the law, than the Snooper’s Charter almost certainly does so at an even greater level. Of course, there is some irony in all of this, in that the case that came to the CJEU was brought by a Member of Parliament, David Davis, who is now the “Brexit Secretary,” meaning that he’s helping to organize the process by which the UK will be removed from the EU… such that it may not even matter what the EU’s Court of Justice has to say on the matter.
The UK has also made it clear it’s going to appeal the decision, meaning that it will get to drag this process out as long as possible, potentially until the Brexit process is completed, at which point the ruling will not matter.
Still, it should at least raise question in the UK about why their politicians are granting the government powers to snoop on every member of the public at a level that goes way beyond what is considered appropriate.