Privacy hits the headlines

Privacy and data protection issues are big news, particularly since the Snowden revelations in 2013. Actions by individuals and privacy action groups over the past few years have not only increased public awareness and sensitivity but have literally changed the law. Examples include:

Invalidation of the Data Retention Directive;

Invalidation of the Safe Harbour Agreement;

Introduction of the Right to be Forgotten principle.

The latest significant judgment occurred on 30 January 2018, with the Court of Appeal declaring the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) 2014 contrary to EU law. Although DRIPA is no longer in force, the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016, which superseded it and contains many of the same provisions, must now be reviewed. The IPA is also the subject of a separate challenge, led by Liberty and funded by the public.

Although this case concerns privacy in relation to criminal investigations, it is nevertheless a real indication of the strength of public feeling around these matters and the importance of GDPR compliance by public authorities.