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Judges say Investigatory Powers Act is incompatible with EU law after legal challenge by Liberty

The British government must rewrite its mass data surveillance legislation because it is incompatible with European law, the high court has ruled.

Judges have given ministers and officials six months to redraft the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, labelled the snooper’s charter by critics, following a crowdfunded challenge by the human rights group Liberty.

Ministers had already accepted that some aspects of the act do not comply with EU law and needed to be revised. They wanted until April next year to introduce new rules.

On Friday, however, Lord Justice Singh and Lord Justice Holgate said legislation must be drawn up by the start of November.

Lawyers for Liberty argued in February that the act violates the public’s right to privacy by allowing the storage of and access to internet data.

The government accepted the act was inconsistent with EU law because access to retained data was not limited to the purpose of combating “serious crime” and was not subject to prior review by a court or other independent body.