Yesterday the UK Parliament passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Bill into law. The Bill was fast-tracked without a vote being labelled as emergency legislation, after only one week of being released to the public, and given royal assent within hours. The new law expands British authorities’ surveillance capabilities allowing them to retain metadata, something the government has argued is necessary in order to  act against terrorists, pedophiles, and other criminals.

The proposers also claimed the bill serves to fill a gap left when the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejected the EU’s Data Retention Directive  in April claiming it lacked privacy safeguards. DRIP will only be valid until 2016. The government argues the law only clarifies existing law seen in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), and extends it to cover that which “consists in or includes facilitating the creation, management or storage of communications”.

Digital rights activists the Open Rights Group have already begun action to test the law in European Courts.

Photo by ‘Simon and His Camera’ CC BY-ND 2.0

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