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Liberty to Challenge ‘Unlawful’ Snoopers’ Charter

Rights group Liberty is seeking a judicial review of the controversial Investigatory Powers Act – the new law which gives the UK authorities unprecedented powers to hack and surveil the public en masse.

Liberty has started a crowdfunding campaign CrowdJustice to boost its efforts to persuade the High Court to review the so-called Snoopers’ Charter, emboldened by a recent petition calling for its repeal which has so far garnered over 206,000 signatures.

“Last year, this government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act’s repeal because they see it for what it is – an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom,” said Liberty director Martha Spurrier.

“We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cybersecurity of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we reclaim our rights.”

The main parts of the law which Liberty is contesting are the powers it grants the authorities to hack citizens’ devices and intercept texts, phone calls and online messages en masse without requiring suspicious activity.

It is also challenging the retention of all comms and internet data by service providers, and the ability of the authorities to acquire and link databases from the public and private sector containing highly sensitive information on the public.

Liberty will feel it has a chance given that the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) last month ruled against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) – the forerunner of the Snoopers’ Charter.

The rights group claims that the IPA vastly expands the powers of DRIPA without any effort to counter the lack of safeguards which CJEU found unlawful. 

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