Responding to the decision of the High Court to allow the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) to be judicially reviewed, following action brought by Conservative MP David Davis and Labour MP Tom Watson, Mr Davis said:
“While it is disappointing that the courts, rather than Parliament, are in this case acting as the defender of our civil liberties, it is nonetheless a vindication of our constitutional checks and balances that the courts have seen fit to review the flawed decision by the Government to force emergency legislation through Parliament with serious consequences for everyone’s privacy in response to a manufactured emergency.
The courts will now consider whether DRIPA disproportionately infringes on our fundamental right to privacy. Given that the Court of Justice of the European Court has already been very clear that that blanket data retention is an unnecessary and disproportionate breach of our civil liberties, there is a distinct possibility that the Government will find its legislation to be in conflict with European law. This is particularly notable since the original law was a European Directive, largely drawn up and driven by the previous Labour Government. This directive has now been struck down.
The Government, in conjunction with our security services, have for too long demanded the steady erosion in our civil liberties, supposedly in exchange for greater security, while instead delivering less safety and less freedom. I hope that the Government will take time to consider the implications of continuing down this path, and will take this opportunity to reconsider their counter-terrorism strategy.”