Liberty hits crowdfunding goal to take on Snoopers’ Charter

Civil-rights group Liberty has launched a crowdfunding campaign to take on the government’s Snoopers’ Charter, saying it’s against our basic human rights to be monitored on such a large scale.

The organisation is seeking to challenge the law in the high court and is inviting the public to support the action by donating money to the campaign using the CrowdJustice platform. With a month to go before the fund-raising initiative ends, it has already hit its £40,000 target, reaching £40,162 at the time of writing.

The Snoopers’ Charter, formally known as the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), was devised by Theresa May while she was still home secretary and will allow the government to access web history and email, text and phone records. Liberty’s appeal describes these powers as the ability to “hack computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale”.

“Last year, this government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history,” said Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty. “Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act’s repeal because they see it for what it is – an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom.”

Although the IPA gained Royal Assent in November last year and came into force at the end of December, Liberty is seeking to have it repealed, claiming it’s unlawful and puts UK citizens’ basic human rights at risk.

“We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cybersecurity of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we reclaim our rights,” Spurrier added.

Liberty’s campaign comes just a few weeks after the European Court of Justice upheld a legal challenge brought by Conservative MP David Davis and Labour MP Tom Watson, which claimed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act – the IPA’s predecessor – broke the law by indiscriminately collecting and analysing citizens’ internet activity and phone records. That case has now returned to the UK court of appeal.

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