The European Commission has today admitted it has no plans to force the UK government to stop the indiscriminate monitoring of citizens’ calls, text messages and internet usage, despite the fact it breaches citizens’ right to privacy.
The Home Office is still ordering companies to store details of your web browsing, emails and telephone calls even though the European courts in April ruled that such indiscriminate monitoring was illegal.
Now Michele Cercone, Home Affairs spokesperson for the European Commission, has told BuzzFeed the body responsible for implementing decisions will not tell the UK government that its law is invalid.
Campaign groups such as the Open Rights Group believe that a single legal challenge could be enough to make the government cease the mass collection of metadata from users’ phone records.
But the EU has said it considers the issue to be a domestic matter.
Instead it hopes member states will ensure any data retention schemes only collect what is “necessary, appropriate and proportionate”, as per the April ruling in the Court of Justice.
Cercone said: “In the absence of an EU Data Retention Directive, Member States may still maintain or set up new data retention schemes.”
He said such schemes cannot go further than what is “necessary, appropriate and proportionate” and said the burden it on individual member states to “carefully assess whether there is a need to change national legislation.”
Despite the EU ruling, it was revealed on Wednesday that companies have been asked to continue to monitor citizens data.
“We consider that the [regulations] remain in place,” insisted Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire in a response to a parliamentary question.
Brokenshire also confirmed that the government has ordered phone companies to keep recording their users’ data while the Home Office considers the impact of the ruling.