'The UK government’s mass surveillance program, allowing for the indiscriminate collection of people’s personal data, has been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal.
Large parts of the government’s Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – dubbed the 'snoopers charter' – must be amended as it runs contrary to EU law, the Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday.
The judges ruled that the legislation, based on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, is unlawful as bulk data collection was being carried out for reasons other than to tackle serious crime.
They also contested the fact that it empowered police and authorities to engage in the practice of harvesting people’s personal information without obtaining prior consent from a court or and independent body.
The legal challenge was launched by Labour MP Tom Watson along with Brexit Secretary David Davis in 2014. Davis, however, withdrew when he took up his ministerial role.
Responding to the ruling, Watson said: “This legislation was flawed from the start. It was rushed through parliament just before recess without proper parliamentary scrutiny."
He added:"The government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data."
“I’m proud to have played my part in safeguarding citizens’ fundamental rights,” Watson told the Guardian.'