Menu
UK High Court gives government nine months to rewrite data retention law

UK High Court gives government nine months to rewrite data retention law

A hastily-introduced law forcing communications operators to retain metadata for law enforcement use is unlawful, the UK High Court said

Big Data

Big Data

Stop-gap legislation that allowed the British government to continue ordering telecom and Internet companies to retain communications data for 12 months is unlawful, the U.K.'s high court ruled on Friday.

The ruling sets an example for other European Union countries looking to introduce new data retention laws following a European court ruling last year.

Many E.U. member states scrapped laws based on the E.U. Data Retention Directive demanding the storage of telecom and Internet metadata after an April 2014 ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) found that the directive violated fundamental privacy rights. Since then, though, many governments have moved to introduce new data retention laws that would provide law enforcers with continued access to communications data without, they say, violating fundamental rights.

Following the CJEU ruling, the U.K. government rushed through a new data retention law, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA), through Parliament.

Two members of Parliament, David Davis and Tom Watson, called for a judicial review of DRIPA, saying it is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights, which cover fundamental privacy rights.

On Friday, the U.K. High Court ruled that Section 1 of DRIPA would not apply after March 31, 2016, effectively giving the government nine months to come up with a new data retention law. The act does not ensure that access to and use of retained data is restricted to the prevention and detection of precisely defined serious offences, nor does it require a court or to grant such access or use, the ruling said.

Davis, an MP for the ruling Conservative Party, welcomed the ruling: "The court has recognized what was clear to many last year, that the Government's hasty and ill-thought through legislation is fatally flawed. They will now have to rewrite the law to require judicial or independent approval before accessing innocent people's data."

Watson, a member of the opposition Labour Party, said any new law should provide independent oversight of the Government's data-collection powers.

Other E.U. countries, while less hasty than the U.K., are also keen to reintroduce data retention laws. For example, in Germany the government unveiled plans in May for a law that would oblige providers to store call and Internet traffic metadata for up to 10 weeks, while location data would have to be stored for four weeks. Germany hasn't had a data retention law since the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled the previous law unconstitutional in 2010. In the Netherlands, where the national data retention law was scrapped by a court in March, the government is looking to introduce a new one as soon as possible.

Reacting to the U.K. ruling, Member of the European Parliament Jan Philipp Albrecht wondered how many high courts in the E.U. will have to judge data retention unlawful before the European Commission and E.U. countries start enforcing the CJEU ruling.

The U.K. government plans to appeal the ruling. Security Minister John Hayes warned that, without a data retention law, communications data that could potentially save lives would only be available to the police and other law enforcement if a communications company had decided to retain it for commercial reasons.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legallegislationgovernment

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments