The British Government has proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act, better known as the Snoopers’ Charter, after accepting its incompatibility with European Union law. While the UK is due to leave the EU in the next few years, the country is still expected to follow the EU’s court decisions in the meantime. Last year this very court said the IPA was incompatible with EU law.
The government accepted that it was inconsistent with EU law because law enforcement did not need to seek independent permission to access communications data, and because collecting communication metadata was not only reserved for the most serious crimes. It has now set out three measures in order to address those concerns.
Firstly, offenses carrying a potential prison sentence of six months or more should be considered a “serious crime” for which communications data can be collected. Secondly, communications data will no longer be collected for the purpose of public health, collecting taxes or regulating financial markets. And thirdly, a new Office for Communications Data Authorisations (OCDA) will permit or decline law enforcement requests for data.
While the Open Rights Group has described the changes as a “major victory”, it is dubious that the government is making an exception to not collect data for regulating financial markets. The Conservative-led Government already has a reputation for being in the pockets of financial elites.
Source: BBC News