The IPT’s ruling about the ECHR’s “accordance with law” requirement

The IPT ruled in its December 5, 2014 Judgment in the Liberty challenge,  that “there are very substantial published procedures in s. 15 [of RIPA] and the [Interception of Communications] Code [of Practice]” pertaining to the treatment of intercepted communications and metadata. Moreover, the Intelligence Services “are in our judgment justified in their concern that disclosure of further particulars of those procedures would reveal and disclose sensitive and specific details with regard to methods of obtaining and dealing with information, and reveal the precise capacity and capabilities of the Respondents ….” Id., para. 137. On this basis, the IPT was “satisfied that the s.8(4) arrangements are sufficiently signposted, in the statute, in the Code, in the Commissioner’s Reports, and as now recorded in the judgment.” Id., para. 140. Hence, the IPT concluded that the 8(4) regime complied with the notification component of the “accordance with law” requirement of Article 8(2) of the ECHR.

The Complainants had also urged that the provisions of s.15(3) and (4) of RIPA were not sufficient to prevent privacy from being undermined through the construction and data mining of huge metadata databases. The IPT dismissed the concern on the basis on the ground that during the closed hearings, they had especially sought to be satisfied “as to the existence of arrangements relating to the duration of retention and destruction of information the product of intercept or obtained through Prism.” Id., para.138.

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