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Liberty launches legal challenge against Investigatory Powers Act

Civil rights group asks High Court for permission to proceed

Protesters

Human Rights campaign organisation Liberty has launched a legal challenge against the government, claiming the Investigatory Powers Act is against human rights.

The group raised funds to finance its legal action through a successful crowdfunding campaign on CrowdJustice where it raised 50,000 towards legal fees in less than a week. Now it has taken the next step in its planned activity, approaching the High Court for permission to proceed.

The group said the "bulk" surveillance permitted under the Act, including giving authorities the go ahead to hack into anyone's web history, email, text and phone records, is against the British people's human rights.

It will call for the government to re-think the Act, which it also considers as fostering discrimination because it allows agencies to acquire databases of information including a person's religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems.

"This is our first step towards getting rid of the most intrusive surveillance regime of any democracy in history," Silkie Carlo, policy officer at Liberty, said.

"The powers we're fighting undermine everything that's core to our freedom and democracy our right to protest, to express ourselves freely and to a fair trial, our free press, privacy and cybersecurity. But with so much public support behind us, we're hopeful we will be able to persuade our courts to restrain the more authoritarian tendencies of this Government."

Liberty sent a letter to the government in December, but it believes the response was not substantial enough to prevent the group taking such action.

200,000 people objected against the Act in a petition launched last year, calling for it to be repealed.

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