Britain's "vital" emergency surveillance law ruled unlawful

July 17, 2015 14:16


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Britain has been given nine months to produce new surveillance legislation it says is vital to national security after London's High Court ruled on Friday that emergency measures rushed through parliament last year were unlawful.

The court backed a judicial challenge from two prominent lawmakers and other campaigners that powers which compelled telecoms firms to retain customer data for a year were inconsistent with European Union laws.

Prime Minister David Cameron had said the measures were vital to protect the country, which is on high alert because of the threat posed by Islamic State militants and from Britons who have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight with them.

"The court has recognized what was clear to many last year, that the government's hasty and ill thought through legislation is fatally flawed," said lawmaker David Davis, a long-time campaigner against state intrusion who was defeated by Cameron in the race to become Conservative Party leader in 2005.

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