Aspects of surveillance under RIPA found to be breach human rights


Re: 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.

Helen Mountfield QC and Matthew Ryder QC were involved in this case.