The Investigatory Powers Act on hold for now due to EU Court ruling

News by Roi Perez

Due to a ruling by the European Court of Justice last December, the government is yet to slurp up data under power given to it in the Investigatory Powers Act.

Due to a ruling by the European Court of Justice last December, the government is yet to slurp up data under power given to it in the Investigatory Powers Act.

The controversial Act is seen by some to be heralding in a new era of government surveillance of all UK citizens, and has had much opposition while going through both houses of parliament.

December's ruling declared that the Act is unlawful, due to being “general and indiscriminate”. Three months later, and the UK government has confirmed that the ruling has meant it has yet to start using its new powers to collect information in bulk.

A government spokesperson told Ars Technica: "The European Court of Justice handed down a judgement relating to the UK's communications data regime in December. The matter must now be considered by the domestic courts and the consultation on the communications data code of practice has been deferred until this has taken place."

A public consultation is set to take place between now and early April.

A new draft set of codes of practice were published by The Home Office on 23rd of February, the purpose being to lay out "processes and safeguards" regarding mass surveillance power.

In the new set of codes, codewords for ‘communications data' have been removed, meaning we can't see how the government will coordinate with internet providers when the time comes to collect data.

So it would appear that the government is not yet able to store bulk information on UK citizens, however this capability will be back very soon, and presumably cemented once Brexit happens and EU courts no longer have any say in what UK courts rule.

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