The European Union has condemned Britain’s recently approved Investigatory Powers Bill as illegal - claiming the legislation “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified within a democratic society.”
This comes as the European Court of Justice passed down a ruling that the “general and indiscrimate” collection of data by governments is only allowed when fighting crime, going on to directly challenge the UK for their plans to monitor the digital activity of every citizen in the nation.
“Only the objective of fighting serious crime is capable of justifying such interference,” the Court’s statement reads. This leads to one important question that nobody really knows yet… Could this overthrow the Snooper’s Charter? We are still a part of the EU after all, and even though it’s temporary, we fall under their rules.
The answer to this question is shrouded in uncertainty, but the Home Office have said they are “disappointed” with said decision, claiming they will put forward a “robust arguments to the court of appeal.”
It’s clear the ruling will have its supporters over here in the UK, looking at how extensive the monitoring rules were.
Jim Killock Executive Director for the UK’s Open Rights Group said: “The CJEU has sent a clear message to the UK Government: blanket surveillance of our communications is intrusive and unacceptable in a democracy.
“The Government knew this judgment was coming but Theresa May was determined to push through her snoopers’ charter regardless. The Government must act quickly to re-write the IPA or be prepared to go to court again."
I get it. We’re all scared in the wake of the tragedy in Westminster last Wednesday. Khalid Masood’s actions in committing this atrocity are truly reprehensible. But digital communication is not at fault, and adding an Orwellian level of surveillance is not the answer.
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I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.