UK Snoopers Charter Legal Challenge Successfully Crowdfunded
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
Mere hours after being launched, a crowdfunding campaign to fund legal action against the UK Government over its newly introduced Investigatory Powers Act – derisively known as the Snoopers Charter for its sweeping scope to spy on every UK citizen without a warrant – has hit its £10,000 target. The CrowdJustice campaign was launched by human rights organisations Liberty and The Civil Liberties Trust and aims to challenge the lawfulness of the IP Act in the UK’s High Court.
The IP Act requires UK telecoms companies to collect and store up to twelve months worth of user data – ranging from phone calls and text messages to internet browsing history, e-mails, and social media activity – for every resident in the country, which can be accessed by nearly fifty government agencies, including Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. No one can opt out the law, which came into effect on 31st December 2016.
Liberty aims to challenge the following powers of the IP Act in the High Court:
- Bulk hacking – the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement in crime – leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.
- Bulk interception – the Act allows the state to read texts, online messages and emails and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.
- Bulk acquisition of everybody’s communications data and internet history – the Act forces communications companies and service providers to hand over records of everybody’s emails, phone calls and texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will. This provides a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies.
- “Bulk personal datasets” – the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems, potentially on the entire population – and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.
The campaign follows over 200,000 people signing a Parliament petition to repeal the draconian law, to which the UK’s Conservative government refused to discuss. In the wake of its successful funding, the campaign has set a new stretch goal of £21,500, of which it has raised £16,925 with 29 days still to go. If you’re interested in aiding the legal challenge against the IP Act, you can make a pledge here.