ICCPR concluding observations 2015, paragraph 24
Plain English recommendation
(a) Review laws on intercepting and storing personal communications in line with the ICCPR, including article 17. Any interference with the right to privacy must be legal, proportionate and necessary – regardless of the nationality or location of the individuals concerned.
(b) Ensure the right to privacy is not restricted. Any interference with the right to privacy, the family, the home or correspondence must be allowed under laws that are publicly available, tied to specific aims, are precise, and protect against abuse.
(c) Monitor surveillance and use of personal communications (including by judicially authorising such measures) and set up strong, independent oversight systems.
(d) Revise the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 to ensure access to communications is used only for prosecuting the most serious crimes, and is judicially authorised.
(e) Ensure people can access effective remedies in cases of abuse.
Original UN recommendation
The State party should:
(a) Review the regime regulating the interception of personal communications and the retention of communications data, also taking into account the recommendations made by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, with a view to ensuring that such activities, both within and outside the State party, conform with its obligations under the Covenant, including article 17. In particular, measures should be taken to ensure that any interference with the right to privacy complies with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity, regardless of the nationality or location of the individuals whose communications are under direct surveillance;
(b) Ensure that any interference with the right to privacy, with the family, with the home or with correspondence is authorized by laws that (i) are publicly accessible; (ii) contain provisions that ensure that collection of, access to and use of communications data are tailored to specific legitimate aims; (iii) are sufficiently precise and specify in detail the precise circumstances in which any such interference may be permitted, the procedures for authorization, the categories of persons who may be placed under surveillance, the limit on the duration of surveillance, and procedures for the use and storage of data collected; and (iv) provide for effective safeguards against abuse;
(c) Ensure that robust oversight systems over surveillance, interception and intelligence-sharing of personal communications activities are in place, including by providing for judicial involvement in the authorization of such measures in all cases, and by considering the establishment of strong and independent oversight mandates with a view to preventing abuses;
(d) Revise the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 with a view to ensuring that access to communications data is limited to the extent strictly necessary for prosecution of the most serious crimes and is dependent upon prior judicial authorization;
(e) Ensure that persons affected have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.
Date of UN examination
UN article number
2 (implementation at the national level), 17 (freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference), 19 (freedom of opinion and expression), 26 (equality and non-discrimination)