UN rapporteur: ‘Bad example’ UK should bin the Snoopers’ Charter

IPB The UN’s special rapporteur on privacy has used his maiden report to the Human Rights Council, which he presented today, to criticise the UK’s potential Snoopers’ Charter.

Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s first “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age”, used his 30-page report (DOC) to invite the British government to “desist from setting a bad example to other states” and “outlaw rather than legitimise” the Investigatory Powers Bill’s provisions for bulk surveillance and bulk hacking.

The rapporteur added that recognition was due to the three Parliamentary reports published in February “for their consistent, strong, if occasionally over-polite, criticism of the UK Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill.”

While also tipping his hat to the government’s attempt “to introduce much-needed reinforcement of oversight mechanisms”, he said that his office’s “initial assessment” of the newest version of the bill “leads to serious concern about the value of some of the revisions most recently introduced.”

At the time of writing, not only do some of the UK Government’s proposals appear to run counter to the logic and findings of UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson in his 2014 report dealing inter alia with mass surveillance, but they prima facie fail the benchmarks set by the ECJ in Schrems and the ECHR in Zakharov.

The two largest cases regarding mass surveillance heard by human rights courts in the last two years, Max Schrems’ work to collapse Safe Harbor, and Zakharov’s successful case against the Russian system of forced telecommunications interception, were also cited in a section titled “the beginning of the judicial end for mass surveillance.”

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