Gareth Corfield reports on the Register website that a Supreme court ruling has effectively given carte blanche to police forces to retain personal data they have collected for virtually any purpose and hold it as long as they like – even when the people targeted are not violent and have committed no crime.
The case involved John Catt from Brighton who had lodged a legal claim against the police for keeping records about his attendance at various political protests going back a decade. In 2013 the Court of Appeal ruled that it was illegal for the Police to retain such records; however, the police appealed to the Supreme court.
A particular concern highlighted in the article with the judgment, is the argument put forward by the court that the retention of data for “police purposes” is inherently lawful, albeit with the proviso that it is “regularly reviewed” for deletion (although with no actual requirement to delete it, or establish criteria for deletion). This sets a dangerous precedence as it establishes a legal basis for indiscriminate mass surveillance by the police.