The Government’s so-called ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ is unlawful in its current form, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, challenged the law that he said was ‘flawed from the start’.
The law – officially known as the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) – gave the government wider-ranging powers of surveillance than previous legislation – including access to personal data such as internet and phone records, even when there was no suspicion of criminal activity or no proper oversight.
Officials claimed these broad powers were vital to protect the public from criminals, including paedophiles and terrorism.
However, critics argued that it granted police and spies some of the western world’s most extensive snooping capabilites.
‘This legislation was flawed from the start,’ Watson said in a statement. ‘The government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data.’