Reference made in a judgment of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has asked the Grand Chamber of the CJEU to clarify whether the acquisition and use of Bulk Communications Data (BCD) by security agencies is outside the scope of EU law.
The decision was handed down on Friday 8 September as part of Privacy International’s ongoing challenge to the use of such data and follows on from their decision in Watson. That decision set out a list of requirements governing the use of personal data in criminal investigations. The argument is essentially whether the principles set out in the Watson decision apply because the cases are analogous. The respondents (that is the Government and related agencies) argue that the decision in Watson should not apply broadly because:
In the judgment The President of the IPT, Sir Michael Burton, appears keen to side with the respondents because of the issues of national security but at  points out why a reference is required:
"We have carefully considered the evidence before us, both from the Claimant and the Respondents, and we are persuaded that if the Watson Requirements do apply to measures taken to safeguard national security, in particular the BCD regime, they would frustrate them and put the national security of the United Kingdom, and, it may be, other Member States, at risk. It is to be hoped that, whether by reconsideration, or clarification, of paragraph 119 of the Judgment, or otherwise, the Grand Chamber will take the opportunity to consider whether any further statement than that the safeguarding provisions of the ECHR should apply is required. "
He also refused the claimant’s application to expedite the matter.
The judgment is available on Bailii here. The relevant sections from the Watson judgement are included.