The civil rights campaign group says it has achieved a “historic” victory after challenging the powers used by the security services in criminal investigations in the High Court.
Liberty says the two senior judges’ ruling means that it is “illegal” for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to obtain people’s communication data from telecom providers without “free permission in advance.”
Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holgate delivered their verdict on Friday after considering Liberty’s challenge in a recent High Court hearing in London.
Liberty took legal action against the Home Office and the Foreign Office, the latest in a series of lawsuits challenging the provisions of the 2016 Investigative Powers Act.
The decision is a major victory in the fight against large-scale surveillance.
A Liberty spokesman hailed a “historic victory”, saying the judges ruled that during criminal investigations for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, individuals’ communication data from telecom providers without “prior independent permission” Acquisition is “illegal”.
“Since 2016, the Investigative Powers Act – otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter – has provided state agencies with access to our private communications and personal information, regardless of whether they impose it on us,” he said. Suspicion of wrongdoing.
The data that can be accessed under the Act includes telephone records, text messages, location history and internet browsing history.
He added: “The court has ruled that there are insufficient security measures within the Act when it comes to security services that obtain people’s private data.”
Liberty lawyer Megan Golding added: “This decision is a major victory in the fight against large-scale surveillance.
“The court has agreed that it is very easy for security services to obtain our data.
When security and intelligence agencies work for a common criminal purpose, we see no logical or practical reason why they should not be subjected to a legitimate government like the police.
“From now on, when investigating a crime, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ must obtain independent permission before they can access our communication data.”
The spokesman said the “independent permission” was likely to come from a judge or the Office of Communication Data Authorities (OCDA).
In their ruling, the judges explained how Liberty argued that part of the Investigative Powers Act did not comply with the “pre-requisite permission to access communication data”.
Lawyers representing the ministers disagreed with Liberty’s arguments.
But both judges ruled in favor of Liberty’s complaint, which would mean that the security services operate under the same requirements as the police.
“When security and intelligence agencies work for a common criminal purpose, we see no logical or practical reason why they should not be subjected to a legitimate government like the police,” the judges said.
“The fact that they usually work in the field of national security cannot be enough for that purpose.
“This is a special function in the issue that is relevant.”
He added: “The claimant succeeds on this particular basis of the challenge.”
Liberty lost arguments over other legislative powers.
The spokesman said the group was planning an appeal against the judges’ decisions on those arguments.
He said: “Freedom intends to apply for permission to appeal some of the points decided against it in today’s judgment, such as whether the Investigative Powers Act allows for greater powers to blindly and collect general data. And thus requires a high level of protection, and whenever state agencies view our data that they have secured, prior independent permission is required.