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EU Data Collection Law Goes Against UK Government

The UK government has said that they are “disappointed” after the European Court of Justice has classed their collection of data was against the law set by the EU. The court’s reasoning behind this was down to the fact communications data can only be retained if it was being used to fight serious crime.

The act in question is the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, which would require all communications companies to retain the data with anyone who has British citizenship for a 12-month period. The term ‘communications data’ refers to details such as the time and date of a phone call or email being saved – but not its actual contents.

This was an act which was pushed forward by Brexit secretary David Davis, and since its dismissal, the Liberal Democrats stated the government has been showed that they “overstepped the mark” with the act.

The Comeback

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) stated that a “general and indiscriminate retention” of data is against EU law and the only reason it can be done is to “fight serious crime”. This has meant the case has now been transferred back to the UK court of appeal who had referred the case to the ECJ to gain clarification on it.

Now the case is back in the UK, those who were bringing the case have said that the ruling shows that it is “counter-productive to rush new laws through parliament without proper scrutiny” and they have now begun to put forward “robust arguments” to the court of appeal. They then added that because of how important communications data is in detecting crime they are looking to make sure that clear plans are in place so that the police and other public authorities are able to acquire the communications data in a way which is consistent with EU law and their “obligation to protect the public”.

Urgent Change Required

The UK government has officially said that it would not make any changes until the Court of Appeal had ruled on the legal challenge to the legislation. Which would be expected to come in December once The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act expires and the new legislation – the Investigatory Powers Act – comes in place.

Liberty, who are a group campaigning against the original act have stated that the judgement “upholds the rights of ordinary British people not to have their personal lives spied on without good reason or an independent warrant”. They finished with stating that the government must comply with this by making urgent changes to the “Investigatory Powers Act”.

About the Author:

Rebecca Harper is a freelance writer specialising in law, politics and business. She is an active advocate for immigration rights and works alongside a leading immigration service company to research trends in migrant movement throughout Europe.