Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Human Rights Group Liberty Takes UK ISP Internet Snooping Law to Court

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 (12:03 pm) - Score 992

Some £53,313 worth of donations from 1,861 people have this week enabled Liberty, a prominent Human Rights group, has launched a legal challenge against the Government’s controversial mass Internet surveillance powers in the new Investigatory Powers Act.

The law contains a variety of measures, such as one that forces broadband ISPs to store (for up to 12 months) comparatively detailed Internet Connection Records (e.g. the websites / servers you’ve visited) about all of their customers, which can then be supplied to a valid authority without a warrant (here). This occurs irrespective of whether or not you’re even suspected of a crime.

However the above measures have already been cast into doubt after a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) warned that EU law does not allow “general and indiscriminate retention of traffic data and location data,” except for “targeted” use against “serious crime” (here). Since then the Government has been forced to delay a consultation on related measures (here).

This week Liberty stepped into the battlefield by launching a crowd-funded legal challenge against the IPAct’s “unprecedented ‘bulk’ surveillance powers“, which will seek to argue that the following powers breach the rights of British people.

The Focus of Liberty’s Legal Challenge

* Bulk and ‘thematic’ hacking – the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement in crime – leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.

* Bulk interception of communications content – the Act lets the state read texts, online instant messages and emails, and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.

* Bulk acquisition of everybody’s communications data and internet history – the Act forces communications companies and service providers to retain and hand over records of everybody’s emails, phone calls and texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will.

* Bulk personal datasets – the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems, potentially on the entire population – and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.

The organisation has instructed Bhatt Murphy Solicitors to take on the case, which effectively sets in motion a Judicial Review of the new law.

Silkie Carlo, Policy Officer at Liberty, said:

“This is our first step towards getting rid of the most intrusive surveillance regime of any democracy in history.

The powers we’re fighting undermine everything that’s core to our freedom and democracy – our right to protest, to express ourselves freely and to a fair trial, our free press, privacy and cybersecurity. But with so much public support behind us, we’re hopeful we will be able to persuade our courts to restrain the more authoritarian tendencies of this Government.”

At this stage no date has been set for the first hearing and such challenges have a tendency to be quite slow. Similarly much may yet rest on the outcome of the Government’s other challenge against the earlier CJEU conclusion, which could force the law to be softened by making it more targeted against serious criminals (i.e. the way it should have worked in the first place).

Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris says:

    Good on them! I have just signed up to Liberty. The snoopers Charter is a national disgrace. I hope more people will back this campaign, hopefully the government will start to get the message that at least some people care about civil liberties. I am amazed how little push back there has been on the snoopers charter, most people apparently don’t care…

  2. Avatar Sledgehammer says:

    Or they don’t know about it.

    1. Avatar Chris says:

      Sure, there are certainly people who don’t know or don’t understand but I am amazed at the number of people I have discussed this with who say stuff like ‘I have nothing to hide, what are you hiding?’ or ‘I don’t care’ or ‘don’t you want to stop the terrorists?’

      Why are these people so apathetic about giving up basic privacy?

    2. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @Chris

      Because some people realise that, at times, such information might be required to secure convictions for serious crimes, possibly including terrorist incidents. This already applies with phone calls. The source and destination for every telephone call is recorded and held (I believe) for a year, and this has been the case for several years. It is used, under controlled access, for police investigations. The reason such information is kept is that it is impossible to know in advance every line that might need to be monitored prior to some major criminal event. I know of little evidence that access to these call records has been abused (there were lots of controversies about phone taps back in the ’70s and ’80s where almost everybody in public life claimed to be a victim).

      Unfortunately, it’s completely impossible to know in advance what broadband links might be used in the course of some criminal activity. Who knows what public WiFi system might get used, or which individual might be found to be involved.

      Many people are aware there is a trade-off between the police being able to investigate crimes and thereby help secure

      Much the same argument can be made over CCTV. It’s indiscriminate in that it records everybody that falls within its range, and it’s clearly an intrusion on privacy. However, most people accept it as, overall, they feel safer with it being available. I should further add that CCTV footage, call records and so on can be beneficial to innocent parties as it can help eliminate them from investigations. Further, whilst it’s rare, electronic evidence has even been used in defence cases such as that one last year when CCTV evidence showed a commuter at Waterloo was not responsible for asexual assault.

      So these people aren’t being apathetic. They are just evaluating the issues and coming to a different conclusion about where the balance of public safety and personal privacy should be placed. Rather than merely dismissing these people as apathetic, perhaps you should understand that different people have different priorities and judgement. I see this dismissive approach to other’s views all the time

    3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      We should probably leave the CCTV cameras example out of this as they tend to cover public outdoor and commercial spaces, they do not get installed by the state inside every home thank god :). People might not be so respectful of them if that were the case.

    4. Avatar Chris says:

      @Steve Jones

      Many people simply are apathetic about civil liberties so I don’t agree with many of your comments. Sure, there are some people who have decided that they would rather live in a nanny state and would like the government and associated agencies to have access to all their private info. Heck, I even suspect that there are some people who would be happy with CCTV cameras in their bedrooms and toilets. For what it is worth I see the proliferation of CCTV cameras disturbing as well.

      I have my opinion and if you don’t like it then hard luck. I see this kind of backwards thinking all the time and I for one am not going to give up without a fight. If that means some people get their noses out of joint then so be it.

      Chris.

    5. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @Chris

      You are entitled to your opinion of course, but it’s your off-hand dismissal of other people as apathetic and the implication they’ve not considered the trade-off that I was responding too.

    6. Avatar Chris says:

      @Steve Jones

      I should also have added that the lack of media attention to the snoopers charter and lack of any real public debate for or against the bill goes to show just how apathetic the country at large is. Many countries turn to arms over civil liberties where here it gets a column or two in a few rags. Another example, only 1861 people supported Liberty. That is a pathetic amount given the population of the UK.

      Chris.

    7. Avatar timeless says:

      its kinda funny how everyone thinks the government has our best interests in mind.. yet lve never known a Tory government to do anything unless it profited them and their donors.

      the last person l mentioned about this to, kinda gave me most of the replies here regarding why they think its a good idea, but completely blew me off when l asked about the so called back doors.. the ones that will allow government access to devices and how they would make it so much easier for hackers to access their information..

      either way lm of the opinion that its not the war on terror or any real legitimate reason they want mass surveillance, because lets face it there is no legitimate reason for spy on someone both inside and outside their homes unless they have actually done something wrong.. not unless you realise that all the information that each of us has public and private can actually be quite profitable not to mention a good way for certain governments to keep an eye on troublesome atavists and wistleblowers.

  3. Avatar carl^ says:

    @Steve Jones

    Fair point overall, but I don’t think you can equate calls or CCTV to internet records; much apathy is caused because people not understanding the level of “profiling” possible and the potential ease with which you will be suspected of thought crime or categorised as subversive.

    I’ve never accidentally made a call or been in public in view of CCTV without being aware of what I am doing, but I have visited many a web page which makes client-side calls to less than reputable domains without my prior knowledge.

  4. Avatar Cecil Ward says:

    We need safeguards against a horrendous change of government. Imagine if Trump had won an election here. I can see the reason why the police might want blanket surveillance, so that they can retrospectively _investigate_ things, but future governmental abuse is a great danger.

  5. Avatar Peter says:

    @Chris
    No one cares – it really is not an issue people are getting worked up about – outside the inevitable overexcited on internet forums.

    No one I know is the slightest bit bothered about the snoopers charter.
    There has been no advertising drive by overseas VPN’s in the UK for business.
    Indeed some want even more snooping. In the aftermath of Corrie McKeague’s disappearance there were those on forums calling for the compulsory RFID tagging of everyone at all times: so we would know exactly who was where when.

    As for anyone wistfully thinking of the EU being on the people’s side – you are on a different planet.
    The EU’s digital commissioner wanted us all to log onto for forums and comment sites such as Youtube and the rest using our real names with our government issued Nation/EU ID’s.
    Additionally I can quite see the EU eventually banning cash totally to ensure all payments and therefore people are traceable at all times.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      “There has been no advertising drive by overseas VPN’s in the UK”

      Disagree on that, over the past 1-2 years we’ve seen a huge influx in VPN related promotions and nearly all of them reference the IPAct. VPN subscriptions also appear to have soared for many operators.

      Agree on the EU comments. There’s a lot of political double speak from the EU, much like the UK. On the one hand they’re trying to suggest they’re friends of the people and protecting privacy, while on the other they’re making policy that appears to contradict some of their own conventions.

    2. Avatar dragoneast says:

      It’s not an EU thing. All governments appear to speak with forked tongue when it comes to security. That’s the nature of the beast: we all like taking a bit of risk, except when we’re the victims of them. There’s a inherent tension between protection and liberty (anyone remember being a child, once; without the rose-coloured glasses?)

      That’s why the old saying goes that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Questioning anything is never wrong. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll come up with the right answer, either.

  6. Avatar Gavin says:

    Good to see Liberty standing up for this cause! I was kinda under the impression though the ISPs already kept info like web history, IP addresses etc for 12 months that could be requested by the government with a warrant. Am I wrong? Kinda seems odd how far they are trying to push the ‘Snoopers chart’ if such a system exists…

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • NOW £22.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERSPRING
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £24.00 (*44.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Offer Code: SPRUCE20
  • Vodafone £26.00 (*29.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £28.00 (*44.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £29.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERSPRING
  • TalkTalk £29.95 (*39.95)
    Speed: 145Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3165)
  2. BT (2909)
  3. Building Digital UK (1844)
  4. FTTC (1844)
  5. Politics (1822)
  6. Openreach (1737)
  7. Business (1578)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1368)
  9. FTTH (1355)
  10. Statistics (1337)
  11. 4G (1176)
  12. Fibre Optic (1124)
  13. Wireless Internet (1099)
  14. Virgin Media (1091)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1088)
  16. EE (776)
  17. Vodafone (769)
  18. TalkTalk (730)
  19. Sky Broadband (711)
  20. 5G (658)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact