Rights group launching legal challenge against UK surveillance law News
Rights group launching legal challenge against UK surveillance law

[JURIST] Liberty [advocacy website], a UK-based advocacy group, announced [ press release] Tuesday that it had met its crowding funding goal to launch a legal challenge against recently passed surveillance legislation. Among other provisions, the Investigatory Powers Act [official website] allows the government to record the Internet history of every UK citizen for up to a year. Liberty is primarily concerned that the totality of the act will amount to an unprecedented level of invasion of privacy. In its press release, the Director of Liberty, Martha Spurrier, stated the reasons behind the action.

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. 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.

At the time this article was written, the crowdsourcing website [official website] had raised £18,485 (USD $22,475).

The UK is among several countries that have attempted to pass surveillance laws in the past year. In December the EU Court of Justice stated [official statement, PDF] that laws such as this one violated [JURIST report] EU standards. However, as the UK is leaving the EU, the impact of this statement could be of little consequence. Also last month the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern [JURIST report] over three counter-terrorism measures proposed in the Netherlands. In October a UN expert on free expression said claims that Yahoo allowed the US government to search hundreds of millions of consumer e-mails “raise serious human rights concerns.” [JURIST report]