Human right campaigners Liberty has started its legal fight against the UK government's Investigatory Powers Bill (IP Bill), otherwise known as the Snoopers' Charter, and the "sweeping state spying powers" that it enables.
In January, the group announced that it was looking to raise money crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice in order to seek a High Court judicial review of the core bulk powers in the IP Bill, which it slammed as "an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom."
The campaign raised more than £50,000 in one week, despite setting a target of just £10,000, enabling Liberty to set the judicial review in motion.
Liberty this week announced that it has applied to the High Court for permission to proceed with its legal challenge, which will see it argue that the "bulk" surveillance powers enabled by the IP Bill.
Specifically, Liberty will challenge the IP Bill's power to equip security services with the legal power to bulk collect personal communications data, and give police and security services the explicit power to hack into, and bug, computers and smartphones.
It will also argue that the Bill infringes on the rights of British people by allowing the bulk interception of communications content including text message and emails, the bulk acquisition of communications data and internet history, and the enabling of agencies to access acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector.
Silkie Carlo, Policy Officer at Liberty, said: "This is our first step towards getting rid of the most intrusive surveillance regime of any democracy in history.
"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 said it had not received any response from the government to a formal letter sent on 20 December 2016.
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