Technology × Freedom

Theresa May, Snooper’s Charter, and the Post-Brexit Implications

January 3, 2017 invisiblehand

An interesting turn in the Brexit saga: the European Court of Justice ruled the Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill – also known as Snooper’s Charter – unlawful. The IP Bill would give the U.K. government nearly unchecked power to track and retain citizens’ electronic communications, with Edward Snowden tweeting that Snooper’s Charter “is the most intrusive and least accountable surveillance regime in the West.” The bill was first introduced in 2015 by Theresa May, then Home Secretary and now Prime Minister responsible for implementing Britain’s exit from the European Union. Coincidentally, the U.K. will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice once Brexit is final.

This puts May in a fortuitous position as she is now tasked with executing Brexit, a move that will nullify the European Court of Justice’s ruling against her bill. So whether or not Brexit is successfully implemented, the Powers That Be may score a win regardless, sacrificing one power grab for another. If so, the victory of Brexit for those in the pro-freedom camp will be a pyrrhic one. We should keep a careful watch to see if the Prime Minister will attempt to resurrect the IP Bill post-Brexit, as she almost certainly will.