MPs yet to be informed about government plans for a ‘communications data independent authorising body’

A new independent surveillance procedure to prevent police officers granting themselves permission to access personal emails and records of web-browsing history is being established by the government.

The Home Office project, about which MPs have yet to be informed, follows a highly critical judgment handed down by the European court of justice (ECJ) last year, which demanded stricter legal safeguards for the handling of communications data by law enforcement agencies. Information about the new body only surfaced in an online tender document.

The communications data independent authorising body appears to have been created in response to the judicial decision, according to Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, and human rights groups which were involved with the ECJ case in Luxembourg.

The European Union’s highest court ruled last December that “general and indiscriminate retention” of…

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