Strasbourg application moves ahead
Our case was adjourned in April 2014 to await the decisions of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in the UK regarding complaints brought by a number of NGOs. Those complaints have now been determined and on 24 November 2015 the court lifted the adjournment and set a new deadline of 21 March 2016 for the UK Government to respond to the case.
This application will now proceed in parallel with the IPT complainants, who include Liberty, Amnesty International and Privacy International. A similar application by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK is also proceeding.
The case now continues in the light of developments in the intervening period: further evidence regarding UK practices that emerged in the course of the IPT legal challenges; some minor reforms by the UK Government to the legislation and policy governing surveillance; major reviews of UK surveillance legislation, most notably that of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC; and developments outside the UK including the CJEU decisions in Digital Rights Ireland and Schrems. It also proceeds in the shadow of a new Investigatory Powers Bill produced by the UK Government.
Despite all this, the issues in the case remain as pertinent as they were in 2013. None of the developments in the UK have signalled a move away from mass surveillance and unregulated sharing of intercept material with other states. Indeed the new Investigatory Powers Bill seeks to expand bulk surveillance into new areas. See further https://www.dontspyonus.org.uk/org.