back to article UK High Court rules Snooper's Charter doesn't break Euro human rights laws

Civil rights campaigner Liberty has lost the latest of its legal challenges against the Snooper's Charter gotta-spy-on-'em-all law, with judges stating the Investigatory Powers Act has "interlocking safeguards against the possible abuse of power". Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holgate, handing down judgment in the High …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wha?!

    This, they said in their judgment, was the right thing to do because the Bill of Rights 1689 states "proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court"

    There have been a metric tonne-load of laws since then that have been knocked back in courts so they've forgotten precedent when it's convenient.

    Oh the joys of an unwritten constitution.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Wha?!

      I think they're referring to the debate had in The House before the voting on the bill, not the content of the Bill itself. In other words, the reasoning (and actions) of The House is immaterial in a court of law, the only thing that can be judged by the courts is the lawfulness, or otherwise, of the Act once passed.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Wha?!

        That's not entirely true though @Loyal Commenter. Courts do refer back to Hansard when there are questions of intent when a law is unclear etc... So, the reasoning definitely can come up in the High Court for some cases.

    2. Paul Kinsler

      Re: laws [...] knocked back in courts

      On which subject, I highly recommend this year's Reith Lectures, on the balance between politics and the law.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: laws [...] knocked back in courts

        In which Lord Sumption shows just what an utter disgrace to judtice he is. The only other Law Lord I have disagreed with so much was Lord Diplock - a man who stained the law to this day.

  2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    the Bill of Rights 1689 states "proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court".

    AM I the only one here who wishes we could have one day a year, Purge-style, where parliamentary privelige didn't apply, and the politicians were fair game?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Theoretically we have one of those every five years (or less) when we have an election.

      And yet for some reason, we keep voting the same fuckers into power.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Unhappy

        And yet for some reason, we keep voting the same fuckers into power.

        It is all cleverly crafted so if we don't vote 'this fucker' into power we get some, even worse, 'other fucker'.

        Those elected into power may only be there as a rejection of what others were offering but they'll still take that as a mandate for doing whatever they choose to do.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          The late great Douglas Adams had this to say on the subject:

          “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

          "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

          "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

          "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

          "I did," said Ford. "It is."

          "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"

          "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

          "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

          "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

          "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

          "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

    2. streaky Silver badge

      I mean it only applies to things said in the House. It's not like the EU were politicians have total immunity from prosecution or anything..

      MP's total exemption from the terrorism act (even for actions outside the house) is utter nonsense though.

  3. unimaginative
    FAIL

    This has nothing to do with EU law

    The case rests on the European Convention of Human Rights, which has nothing at all to do with the EU.

    The convention, and the European Court of Human Rights, are older and cover more countries than the EU (47). Every European country, including Russia and Turkey, other than Belarus is a signatory.

    It was originally Churchill's idea, pushed by the UK and largely written by British lawyers.

    When Theresa May was Home Secretary she wanted to weaken the effect of the ECHR (by taking it completely out of domestic law, so any cases relying on it would have to go to the European Court of Human Rights) but stay in the EU. The opposite is happening.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: This has nothing to do with EU law

      >which has nothing at all to do with the EU

      Except it does

      If a non-Eu country like Russia or Turkey break the rules there is precisely fuck-all the court can do about it

      If an Eu country breaks the rules then the rest of the Eu can come down on them like a precisely defined ton of bricks.

      1. Mike007

        Re: This has nothing to do with EU law

        Actually, I think it's more accurate to say that they can write them a precisely worded stern letter telling them to do something (pay a fine/compensation/fix their national laws) and warning them that failure to comply may weaken their negotiating position in other unrelated issues.

        A sternly worded letter is something the British consider to be a very serious situation. Other countries, not so much.

        I am unaware of any court that has a brick dropping machine and a stockpile of ammunition on standby. If a member state were to deploy such a retaliatory enforcement mechanism against another member, I believe they would be breaking EU law. Although, I don't know what anyone else could do to stop them without violating the same law...

        Once britain stops being a member state, other countries might be permitted to start deploying brick dropping machines against us.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Under Boris's thumb already?

    Well, they WOULD say that, wouldn't they!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rights and privacy

    The likes of you don't need these things.

    Big brother loves you.

    He wants you to relax.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So looks like you need to get the MP's to accept there is some nasty s**t going on her

    And this y'know, important.

    That's a tough sell with all the Brexit nonsense they've managed to stir up.

    You can bet BS Boris is not bothered about civil rights (except perhaps his right to privacy about who he's sleeping with).

  7. Mike 137 Bronze badge

    Another reason for not being granted Data Protection Adequacy?

    Once we leave the EU, regardless of any increasingly hypothetical "deal" the UK becomes a 3rd country. Third countries have to apply to the EU for an adequacy decision in respect of data protection, grant of which will require the agreement of all 27 remaining members of the Union. Adequacy is based, not merely on a county's data protection law, but on the entire privacy regime in place. Consequently, this decision will contribute to the overall picture (particularly as the powers granted by the legislation are already considered excessive by some in Europe). There are some other nasties that could contribute too - for example the exemption of immigration data and job references from disclosure via a subject access request, but this one is the big potential problem.

    The outcome could well be significant delay in being granted adequacy (or at worst refusal). As it can take a couple of years or more for adequacy to be granted even where things run smoothly, this promises to create considerable difficulties for the foreseeable future for any UK business processing the personal data of subjects in the EU.

    And no - this is not just doom and gloom. I just don't subscribe to the prevalent fantasies that either we'll get specially favourable treatment from Europe just because we're British, or that some Fairy God Mother will wave her wand and everything will turn out fine in thee months' time without us having to face reality.

    1. Tom -1

      Re: Another reason for not being granted Data Protection Adequacy?

      There is no prospect of our current Prime Minister facing reality. He will continue to tell us that we will all be better off and British Industry will boom when we leave the EU with no deal - either he is stark staring bonkers or he is deliberately lying to us. The only hope for a sane Brexit is that parliament will force him out, but conservative MPs mostly won't have the guts to do that and even if they did there probably wouldn't be time to negotiate a deal that parliament would accept. Probably we should push for a new referendum to decide whether a no deal brexit is acceptable, but the right wing Tories would do their best to kill any such idea.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Another reason for not being granted Data Protection Adequacy?

        There is no prospect of our current Prime Minister facing reality. He will continue to tell us that we will all be better off and British Industry will boom when we leave the EU with no deal - either he is stark staring bonkers or he is deliberately lying to us.

        Well markets have finally started to believe Boris in that UK will leave no matter what (and given he has no realistic chance to change or better the deal in the time there is, no deal is looking rather likely (unless blocked by parliament which leaves an interesting conundrum as to what happens)) and value of GBP has fallen again against USD and EUR.

        If no deal Brexit happens it is likely to fall even further which of course is great for any industry exporting (as long as they don't need to buy too many materials from abroad to make whatever they are making). Never mind that low value of GBP will increase almost all prices (starting with oil/petrol) for everyone.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019