Freedom from Suspicion

Surveillance Reform for a Digital Age

In 2000, Parliament enacted the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. At the time, it was acclaimed by government ministers as human rights compliant, forward-looking legislation. Since its inception, there have been close to three million decisions taken by public bodies under RIPA.

Surveillance is a necessary activity in the fight against serious crime. It is a vital part of our national security. It has saved countless lives and helped convict hundreds of thousands of criminals. Unnecessary and excessive surveillance, however, destroys our privacy and blights our freedoms.

RIPA has not only failed to check a great deal of plainly excessive surveillance by public bodies over the last decade but, in many cases, inadvertently encouraged it. RIPA is neither forward-looking nor human rights compliant. Piecemeal amendments are no longer enough for what is already a piecemeal Act.

JUSTICE’s report, Freedom from Suspicion, Surveillance Reform for a Digital Age, responds to these issues, covering:

  • Surveillance and the right to privacy
  • Interception of communications
  • Communications data
  • ‘Intrusive’ Surveillance
  • ‘Directed’ Surveillance
  • Covert human intelligence sources
  • Encryption keys
  • The Investigatory Powers Tribunal

Root-and-branch reform of the law on surveillance is needed to provide freedom from unreasonable suspicion, and put in place truly effective safeguards against the abuse of what are necessary powers. This report outlines a series of recommendations to serve as the basis for a draft Surveillance Reform Bill.

ISBN: 978-0-907247-53-1

Price: £10.00 (£9.00 for JUSTICE members) or download free below
Format and extent: A4 paperback; 162pp


Dr Eric Metcalfe


4 November 2011

Download a copy of Freedom from Suspicion