Limits put on bulk data collection

21 July 2016

Case is settled in Europe


Bulk data collection can ‘only be used to fight serious crime,’ following a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The case was brought before Europe’s highest justice court by newly appointed Brexit Minister David Davis and Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, who were challenging the legality of GCHQ's bulk interception powers.

The MPs originally argued in the British courts that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) 2014 is illegal. The Government appealed the win and the case was referred to the ECJ.

The Luxembourg-based court has now ruled that law enforcement agencies may only collect data en-masse if it is used to tackle ‘serious crime'.  

In his argument, MP David Davis argued that the British government is “treating the entire nation as suspects” by ignoring safeguards on retaining and accessing personal communications data.

The final outcome of the case is likely to affect the outcome of the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill which is now up for debate before parliament.

The Investigatory Powers Bill aims to put a firmer legal footing on the collection of vast quantities of internet data in the UK by the security services, as well as personal details held on databases.

For further details see SC Magazine’s article at

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