“But, is it all about Brexit?
The decision affirms the important role which EU law has played historically in safeguarding fundamental rights across the Union. While the Supreme Court considers the mechanics of the UK’s departure from the Union, the Westminster Parliament has this month been at pains to emphasise the importance of the Government taking stock of the impacts which Brexit will have on the protection of individual rights (see the JCHR and the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Justice). The decision draws directly upon the recent surveillance case law of the European Court of Human Rights including in Zakharov v Russia App No 47143/06 , making clear that Brexit may not be a get-out-of-jail free card for the IPA.
Of course, the case in Watson was originally labelled Davis & Watson. The now Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union may have some seriously conflicting views reading the judgment this morning. A potentially costly defeat for his Government is a personal win in his own campaign to establish that ill-targeted data retention is inconsistent with the protection of our privacy free from unjustifiable surveillance by the State. In the interests of collective Cabinet responsibility, perhaps he might be thinking about starting his own holiday early.”
Angela Patrick of Doughty Street Chambers provides an initial reaction on the implications of the decisions in Tele Sverige/Watson for domestic surveillance and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
In an early holiday delivery, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) handed down its judgment in the joined cases of Tele Sverige/Watson & Ors (C-203/15/C-698/15), this morning.
Hotly anticipated by surveillance and privacy lawyers, these cases consider the legality of data retention laws in Europe, following the decision in Digital Rights Irelandthat the Data Retention Directive was unlawful. Broadly, the CJEU confirms that EU law precludes national legislation that prescribes the general and indiscriminate retention of data. The Court concludes that the emergency data retention legislation passed in a few days in 2014 – the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 – is unlawful. That legislation is, of course, due to lapse at the end of…
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