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Court: European Court of Human Rights

Aspects of surveillance under RIPA found to be breach human rights

Big Brother Watch & Ors v UK (App Nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15)

This appeal challenged the legality of the surveillance of UK citizens and collection of their personal information and communications under the legal regime set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The ECtHR held that the bulk interception regime under RIPA 2000, s 8(4) violates ECHR, art 8 due to lack of oversight. Thus, the interception itself did not cause the violation; rather the lack of adherence to criteria set out in case law was the cause. The Court also held that the regime under RIPA 2000, Ch II for acquiring communications data from communication service providers violates art 8 as it is not in accordance with the law. Both these regimes were also held to violate art 10. However the judges found that the regime for sharing intelligence with foreign governments did not violate ECHR, arts 8 or 10.

UK found to have violated immigration detainee’s rights protected by article 5 of the ECHR

JN v United Kingdom (App No. 37289/12)

The ECtHR found that while the UK’s immigration detention system as a whole was not contrary to ECHR, art 5, the applicant’s period of detention for immigration purposes after mid-2008 did amount to a violation of ECHR, art 5(1)(f), given the authorities’ inaction in this regard. The applicant was awarded damages of €7,500 damages, as well as costs and expenses.