Drücke "Enter", um den Text zu überspringen.

Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen. Angemessenheitsbeschluss für UK, aber nicht für die USA

Lange Zeit war unklar, wie nun die Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten in Großbritannien nach dem Brexit stattfinden kann oder soll. Es gab Übergangsfristen und das Thema wurde in den Verhandlungen zum Brexit als Verhandlungsmasse eingesetzt. Aber nun gibt es einen Angemessenheitsbeschluss.

Der Brexit und der Datenschutz

Bis zum Brexit gab es zunächst keine Herausforderung im Hinblick auf die Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten der EU Bürger in Großbritannien, da man als Mitgliedsstaat der EU grundsätzlich das Datenschutzniveau der EU besitzt. Hierbei wurde nie die Frage gestellt, ob ähnliche Probleme des Behördenzugriffs durch den britischen Geheimdienst und deren Zusammenarbeit mit den USA das Niveau weit unterhalb des EU Standards drückt. 

Viele Experten gehen davon aus, dass das Niveau des Datenschutzes in Großbritannien parallel zu den USA zu ziehen ist. 

Angemessenheitsbeschluss der EU Kommission

Grundlage: Art 45 DSGVO

Die EU Kommission will nun wirklich einen Angemessenheitsbeschluss für Großbritannien ausgesprochen und damit die Grundlage für den Transfer personenbezogener Daten in ein Drittland gemäß Art 45 DSGVO geschaffen. 

Entwurf: 

EDPB Opinions on draft UK adequacy decisions | European Data Protection Board (europa.eu)

 

Es gilt als sicher, dass der Entwurf verabschiedet und umgesetzt wird:

 

Beschluss und Bewertung der EU Kommission (Ende Juni 2021)

LINK

 

Kommentar: ABER kein Angemessenheitsbeschluss für die USA

Nun stellt sich doch nun wirklich die Frage, warum es nun einen Angemessenheitsbeschluss für UK gibt und auch der für Kanada noch weiter aufrecht erhalten wird, aber für die USA dieser Angemessenheitsbeschluss nicht kommt. 

Ich beschäftige mich schon sehr lange mit dem Thema und habe die Urteile des EuGH Schrems 1 und Schrems 2 verfolgt, sowie lange Diskussionen mit Juristen in den USA und in Europa geführt. Schaut man sich das Datenschutz-Niveau in UK nun etwas genauer an, die weitrechenden Befugnisse des Geheimdienste und die sehr intensive Zusammenarbeit mit den US-Behörden, drängen sich viele Fragen auf. 

Es wird immer schwieriger Mandanten, Kunden und Communitymitgliedern genauer zu erklären, warum man bei der Nutzung von Microsoft Teams / US Clounddienstanbietern ein so hohen Maßstab anlegt und dann im gleichen Zuge einen Angemessenheitsbeschluss für die UK vorlegt. Immer wieder erwische ich mich, dass man einfach sagt, es ist halt Politik und hat mit dem Recht nichts mehr zu tun. Aber dies möchte ich nicht stehen lassen. Es kann nicht sein, dass aus politischen Gründen mit zweierlei Maßgemessen wird und Unternehmen und US-Bürger immer wieder von Rechtsunsicherheiten gestützt werden. Es ist doch auch nicht so, als ob man auch bei der UK keine Möglichkeit hätte es ordentlich zu regeln, dafür muss die UK nun endlich auch das Datenschutz-Niveau der EU einhalten und die Maßstäbe, die an die USA gelegt werden erfüllen. 

Ich kritisiere die EU Kommission dafür scharf. Die UK besitzt nicht das gleiche Datenschutzniveau, wie die meisten Mitgliedsstaaten. 

Letztlich müsste es eine regelmäßige Prüfung auch der Mitgliedsstaaten geben und dann auch die Datenverarbeitung verbieten. Die Lage des Datenschutzes in Deutschland verschlimmert sich massiv, so dass man zwar nicht nach der Rechtslage, aber konsequenter Weise genau überlegen muss, ob eine Datenverarbeitung in Deutschland überhaupt rechtskonform mit der DSGVO sein kann. Auch dies sehe ich nach Aspekten wie Staatstrojaner, BKA und MAD Zusammenarbeit mit der CIA und weiteren Skandalen als höchst kritisch. Konsequenter Weise müsste man die Datenverarbeitung in Deutschland verbieten, wenn man den Maßstab, der an Drittländer gesetzt wird auch an Deutschland setzen würde. Sonst ist alles dies nur Augenwischerei und der Datenschutz gehört abgeschafft. 

 

 

Beschluss im Volltext in englische Sprache 

 

EN EN
EUROPEAN
COMMISSION
Brussels, 28.6.2021
C(2021) 4800 final
COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION
of 28.6.2021
pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council
on the adequate protection of personal data by the United Kingdom
(Text with EEA relevance)EN 1 EN
COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION
of 28.6.2021
pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council
on the adequate protection of personal data by the United Kingdom
(Text with EEA relevance)
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of
27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal
data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data
Protection Regulation)1
, and in particular Article 45(3) thereof,
Whereas:
1. INTRODUCTION
(1) Regulation (EU) 2016/679 sets out the rules for the transfer of personal data from
controllers or processors in the European Union to third countries and international
organisations to the extent that such transfers fall within its scope of application. The
rules on international data transfers are laid down in Chapter V of that Regulation, that
is in Articles 44 to 50. While the flow of personal data to and from countries outside
the European Union is essential for the expansion of international cooperation and
cross-border trade, the level of protection afforded to personal data in the European
Union must not be undermined by transfers to third countries2
.
(2) Pursuant to Article 45(3) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the Commission may decide,
by means of an implementing act, that a third country, a territory or one or more
specified sectors within a third country, or an international organisation ensure(s) an
adequate level of protection. Under this condition, transfers of personal data to a third
country may take place without the need to obtain any further authorisation, as
provided for in Article 45(1) and recital 103 of that Regulation.
(3) As specified in Article 45(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the adoption of an
adequacy decision has to be based on a comprehensive analysis of the third country’s
legal order, covering both the rules applicable to the data importers and the limitations
and safeguards as regards access to personal data by public authorities. In its
assessment, the Commission has to determine whether the third country in question
guarantees a level of protection “essentially equivalent” to that ensured within the
European Union (recital 104 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679). The standard against
which the “essential equivalence” is assessed is that set by European Union
legislation, notably Regulation (EU) 2016/679, as well as the case law of the Court of

1
OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, page 1.
2
See recital 101 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.EN 2 EN
Justice of the European Union3
. The European Data Protection Board’s (EDPB)
adequacy referential is also of significance in this regard4
.
(4) As clarified by the Court of Justice of the European Union, this does not require
finding an identical level of protection5
. In particular, the means to which the third
country in question has recourse for protecting personal data may differ from the ones
employed in the European Union, as long as they prove, in practice, effective for
ensuring an adequate level of protection6
. The adequacy standard therefore does not
require a point-to-point replication of Union rules. Rather, the test lies in whether,
through the substance of data protection rights and their effective implementation,
supervision and enforcement, the foreign system as a whole delivers the required level
of protection7
.
(5) The Commission has carefully analysed the law and practice of the United Kingdom.
Based on the findings developed in recitals (8) to (270), the Commission concludes
that the United Kingdom ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data
transferred within the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 from the European Union to
the United Kingdom.
(6) This conclusion does not concern personal data transferred for United Kingdom
immigration control purposes or which otherwise falls within the scope of the
exemption from certain data subject rights for purposes of the maintenance of effective
immigration control (the “immigration exemption”) pursuant to paragraph 4(1) of
Schedule 2 to the UK Data Protection Act. The validity and interpretation of the
immigration exemption under UK law is not settled following a decision of the
England and Wales Court of Appeal of 26 May 2021. While recognising that data
subject rights can, in principle, be restricted for immigration control purposes as “an
important aspect of the public interest”, the Court of Appeal has found that the
immigration exemption is, in its current form, incompatible with UK law, as the
legislative measure lacks specific provisions setting out the safeguards listed in Article
23(2) of the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)8
. In
these conditions, transfers of personal data from the Union to the United Kingdom to
which the immigration exemption can be applied should be excluded from the scope

3
See, most recently, Case C-311/18, Facebook Ireland and Schrems (“Schrems II”)
ECLI:EU:C:2020:559.
4
European Data Protection Board, Adequacy Referential, WP 254 rev. 01.available at the following link:
https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=614108.
5
Case C-362/14, Schrems (“Schrems I”), ECLI:EU:C:2015:650, paragraph 73.
6
Schrems I, paragraph 74.
7
See Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Exchanging
and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalised World, COM(2017)7 of 10.1.2017, section 3.1, pages 6-7,
available at the following link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52017DC0007&from=EN.
8 Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Open Rights Group v Secretary of State for the Home Department
and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, [2021] EWCA Civ 800, paragraphs 53 to
56. The Court of Appeal reversed the High Court of Justice’s decision that had previously assessed the
exemption in light of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (in particular, its Article 23) and the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union and found the exemption to be lawful (Open Rights Group
& Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2019]
EWHC 2562).EN 3 EN
of this Decision9
. Once the incompatibility with UK law is remedied, the immigration
exemption should be reassessed, as well as the need to maintain the limitation of the
scope of this Decision.
(7) This Decision should not affect the direct application of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 to
organisations established in the United Kingdom where the conditions regarding the
territorial scope of that Regulation, laid down in its Article 3, are fulfilled.
2. RULES APPLYING TO THE PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA
2.1. The constitutional framework
(8) The United Kingdom is a Parliamentary democracy which has a constitutional
sovereign as Head of State. It has a sovereign Parliament, which is supreme to all
other government institutions, an Executive drawn from and accountable to Parliament
and an independent judiciary. The Executive draws its authority from its ability to
command the confidence of the elected House of Commons and is accountable to both
Houses of Parliament which are responsible for scrutinising the Government and
debating and passing laws.
(9) The United Kingdom Parliament has devolved responsibility to the Scottish
Parliament, the Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru), and the Northern Ireland
Assembly for legislating on domestic matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
which the United Kingdom Parliament has not reserved to itself. While data protection
is a reserved matter, i.e. the same legislation applies across the country, other areas of
policy relevant to this Decision are devolved. For instance, the criminal justice
systems, including policing, of Scotland and Northern Ireland are devolved to the
Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, respectively. The United
Kingdom does not have a codified constitution in the sense of an entrenched
constitutive document. Constitutional principles have emerged over time, drawn from
case law and convention in particular. The constitutional value of certain statutes, such
as Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Human Rights Act 1998 has been
recognised by courts. The fundamental rights of individuals have been developed, as
part of the constitution, through common law, those statutes, and international treaties,
in particular the European Convention on Human Rights which the United Kingdom
ratified in 1951. The United Kingdom also ratified the Council of Europe Convention
for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data
(Convention 108) in 198710
.
(10) The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the rights contained in the European
Convention on Human Rights into the law of the United Kingdom. The Human Rights
Act grants any individual the fundamental rights and freedoms provided in Articles 2
to 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 1, 2 and 3 of its
First Protocol and Article 1 of its Thirteenth Protocol, as read in conjunction with
Articles 16, 17 and 18 of that Convention. This includes the right to respect for private

9
Provided that the applicable conditions are fulfilled, transfers for UK immigration control purposes may
be carried out on the basis of the transfer mechanisms provided by Articles 46 to 49 of Regulation (EU)
2016/679.
10 The principles of Convention 108 were originally implemented into the law of the United Kingdom
through the Data Protection Act of 1984, which was replaced by the DPA 1998, and then in turn by the
DPA 2018 (as read with the UK GDPR). The United Kingdom has also signed the Protocol amending
the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data
(known as Convention 108+) in 2018 and is currently working on the ratification of the convention.EN 4 EN
and family life (and the right to data protection as part of that right) and the right to a
fair trial11. In particular, pursuant to Article 8 of that Convention, a public authority
may only interfere with the right to privacy in accordance with the law, where
necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or
the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of
others.
(11) In accordance with the Human Rights Act 1998, any action of public authorities must
be compatible with a Convention Right12. In addition, primary and subordinate
legislation must be read and given effect in a way that is compatible with the
Convention rights13
.
2.2. The data protection framework of the United Kingdom
(12) The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. On the
basis of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy
Community14, Union law continued to apply in the United Kingdom during the
transition period until 31 December 2020. Prior to the withdrawal and during the
transition period, the legislative framework on the protection of personal data in the
United Kingdom consisted of the relevant EU legislation (in particular Regulation
(EU) 2016/679 and Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the
Council15) and national legislation, in particular the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA
2018)16 which provided national rules, where allowed by Regulation (EU) 2016/679,
specifying and restricting the application of the rules of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and
transposed Directive (EU) 2016/680.
(13) To prepare for withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom
Government enacted the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 201817, which
incorporates directly applicable Union legislation into the law of the United
Kingdom18. This so-called “retained EU law” includes Regulation (EU) 2016/679 in

11 Articles 6 and 8 of the ECHR (see also Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998).
12 Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
13 Section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
14 Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the
European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community 2019/C 384 I/01, XT/21054/2019/INIT,
(OJ C 384I, 12.11.2019, p. 1), available at the following link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:12019W/TXT(02)&from=EN
15 Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the
protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for
the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the
execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council
Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, pages 89), available at the following link:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016L0680&from=EN .
16 Data Protection Act 2018, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/contents/enacted
17 European Union Withdrawal Act 2018, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/contents
18 The intention and effect of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is that all direct Union
legislation which was incorporated into United Kingdom law at the end of the transition period is
incorporated into United Kingdom law as it has effect in EU law immediately before the end of the
transition period, see Section 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.EN 5 EN
its entirety (including its recitals)19. In accordance with that act, the unmodified
retained EU law must be interpreted by the courts of the United Kingdom in
accordance with the relevant case law of the European Court of Justice and general
principles of Union law as they have effect immediately before the end of the
transition period (called “retained EU case law” and “retained general principles of EU
law” respectively)20
.
(14) Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the ministers of the United
Kingdom have the power to introduce secondary legislation, via statutory instruments,
to make the necessary modifications to retained European Union law consequential to
the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. They exercised that
power by adopting the Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications
(Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (DPPEC Regulations)21. The DPPEC
Regulations amend Regulation (EU) 2016/679 as brought into United Kingdom law
through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the DPA 2018, and other data
protection legislation to fit the domestic context22
.
(15) Consequently, the legal framework on the protection of personal data in the United
Kingdom after the end of the transition period consists of:
– The UK GDPR, as incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom under the
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and amended by the DPPEC
Regulations23, and
– the DPA 201824, as amended by the DPPEC Regulations.
(16) As the UK GDPR is based on EU legislation, the data protection rules in the United
Kingdom in many aspects closely mirror the corresponding rules applicable within the
European Union.

19 The Explanatory Notes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 specifies that: “Where legislation
is converted under this Section, it is the text of the legislation itself which will form part of domestic
legislation. This will include the full text of any EU instrument (including its recitals)”. (Explanatory
Notes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, paragraph 83, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/pdfs/ukpgaen_20180016_en.pdf). According to
information provided by the UK authorities, as the recitals do not have the status of binding legal rules,
it was not necessary to amend them in the same way as the Articles of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 have
been amended by the DPPEC Regulations.
20 Section 6 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
21 The Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit)
Regulations 2019, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/419/contents/made, as amended by the DPPEC Regulations
2020, available at the following link: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780348213522.
22 These amendments to the UK GDPR and DPA 2018 are mostly of a technical nature, such as deleting
references to “Member States” or adjusting terminology, e.g. replacing references to Regulation (EU)
2016/679 by references to the UK GDPR. In some instances, changes were required in order to reflect
the purely domestic context of the provisions, for example with respect to “who” adopts “adequacy
regulations” for the purposes of the UK’s data protection legislative framework (see Section 17A of the
DPA 2018), i.e. the Secretary of State instead of the European Commission.
23 General Data Protection Regulation, Keeling Schedule, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/94611
7/20201102_-_GDPR_-__MASTER__Keeling_Schedule__with_changes_highlighted__V3.pdf.
24 Data Protection Act 2018, Keeling Schedule, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/94610
0/20201102_-_DPA_-__MASTER__Keeling_Schedule__with_changes_highlighted__V3.pdf.EN 6 EN
(17) In addition to the powers afforded to the Secretary of State by the European Union
(Withdrawal) Act 2018, several provisions of the DPA 2018 give powers to the
Secretary of State to adopt secondary legislation to amend certain provisions of the
Act or provide supplementary and additional rules25. The Secretary of State has so far
only exercised the power under Section 137 of the DPA 2018 to adopt the Data
Protection (Charges and Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which set out
the circumstances in which data controllers are required to pay an annual charge to the
UK’s independent data protection authority, the Information Commissioner.
(18) Finally, further guidance on the data protection legislation of the United Kingdom is
provided in the codes of practice and other guidance adopted by the Information
Commissioner. Although not formally legally binding, this guidance carries
interpretative weight and demonstrates how the data protection legislation applies and
is enforced by the Commissioner in practice. In particular, Sections 121 to 125 of the
DPA 2018 require the Commissioner to prepare codes of practice on data-sharing,
direct marketing, age-appropriate design and data protection and journalism.
(19) In its structure and main components, the UK legal framework applying to data
transferred under this Decision is thus very similar to the one applying in the European
Union. This includes the fact that such framework does not only rely on obligations
laid down in domestic law, that have been shaped by EU law, but also on obligations
enshrined in international law, in particular through the United Kingdom’s adherence
to the ECHR and Convention 108, as well as its submission to the jurisdiction of the
European Court of Human Rights. These obligations arising from legally binding
international instruments, concerning notably the protection of personal data, are
therefore a particular important element of the legal framework assessed in this
Decision.
2.3. Material and territorial scope
(20) Similarly to Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the UK GDPR applies to the processing of
personal data wholly or partly by automated means, or to other processing, if the
personal data forms part of a filing system26. The definitions of “personal data”, of
“data subject” and of “processing” of the UK GDPR are identical to those of
Regulation (EU) 2016/67927. In addition, the UK GDPR applies to the processing of
manual unstructured personal data28 held by certain United Kingdom public
authorities29, although UK GDPR principles and rights that are not relevant to such
personal data are disapplied by Sections 24 and 25 of the DPA 2018. Similarly to what
is provided under Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the UK GDPR does not apply to the

25 Such powers are contained for example in Section 16 (power to make, in specific, narrowly
circumscribed situations, further exemptions to specific provisions of the UK GDPR), 17A (power to
adopt adequacy regulations), 212 and 213 (powers to commence legislation and make transitional
provision), and 211 (power to make minor and consequential amendments) of the DPA 2018.
26 Article 2(1) and (5) of the UK GDPR.
27 Article 4(1) and 2 of the UK GDPR.
28 The manual unstructured processing of personal data is defined in Article 2(5)(b) as the processing of
personal data which is not the automated or structured processing of personal data.
29 Article 2(1A) of the UK GDPR provides that the Regulation also applies to the manual unstructured
processing of personal data held by an FOI public authority. The reference to FOI public authorities
means any public authorities as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or any Scottish public
authorities as defined in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 13). Section 21(5) of the
DPA 2018.EN 7 EN
processing of personal data by an individual in the course of a purely personal or
household activity30
.
(21) The UK GDPR extends its scope also to the processing in the course of an activity
which, immediately before the end of the transition period, fell outside the scope of
European Union law (e.g. national security)31, or was within the scope of Chapter 2 of
Title 5 of the Treaty on European Union (Common Foreign and Security Policy
activities)32. As in the European Union system, the UK GDPR does not apply to the
processing of personal data by a competent authority for purposes of the prevention,
investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of
criminal penalties, including the safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to
public security (so called “law enforcement purposes”) – such processing is instead
governed by Part 3 of the DPA 2018, as it is the case for Directive (EU) 2016/680
under European Union law – or the processing of personal data by intelligence
services (the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and the Government
Communications Headquarters) which is covered by Part 4 of the DPA 201833
.
(22) The territorial scope of the UK GDPR is described in Article 3 of the UK GDPR34 and
includes the processing of personal data (regardless of where it takes place) in the
context of the activities of an establishment of a controller or a processor in the United
Kingdom as well as to the processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the
United Kingdom, where the processing activities are related to the offering of goods or
services to such data subjects or the monitoring of their behaviour35. This reflects the
approach taken in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.
2.4. Definitions of personal data and concepts of controller and processor
(23) The definitions of personal data, processing, controller, processor, as well as the
definition of pseudonymisation, laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 have been
retained without material modifications in the UK GDPR36. Moreover, special
categories of data are defined in Article 9(1) of the UK GDPR in the same way as
under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (“revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions,
religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of

30 Article 2(2)(a) of the UK GDPR.
31 National security activities are only covered by the scope of the UK GDPR as far as they are not carried
out by a competent authority for law enforcement purposes, in which case Part 3 of the DPA 2018
applies, or by or on behalf of an intelligence service, whose activities are carved out from the scope of
the UK GDPR and subject to Part 4 of the DPA 2018 pursuant to Article 2(2)(c) of the UK GDPR. For
example, a police force may conduct security checks against an employee to ensure he can be trusted to
access national security material. Despite the police being a competent authority for law enforcement
purposes, the processing in question is not for a law enforcement purpose and the UK GDPR would
apply. See UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H: National Security Data
Protection and Investigatory Powers Framework, page 8, available at the following link
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/87223
9/H_-_National_Security.pdf
32 Article 2(1)(a)&(b) of the UK GDPR.
33 Article 2(2)(b)&(c) of the UK GDPR.
34 The same territorial scope applies to the processing of personal data under Part 2 of the DPA 2018 that
supplements the UK GDPR (Section 207(1A)).
35 This notably means that the DPA 2018 and therefore this decision do not apply to UK Crown
dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and United Kingdom Overseas Territories, such as
for example the Falkland Islands and the territory of Gibraltar.
36 Articles 4(1), 4(2), 4(5), 4(7) and 4(8) of the UK GDPR.EN 8 EN
genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person,
data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual
orientation”). Section 205 of the DPA 2018 provides the definition of “biometric
data”37, “data concerning health”38 and “genetic data”39
.
2.5. Safeguards, rights and obligations
2.5.1. Lawfulness and fairness of processing
(24) Personal data should be processed lawfully and fairly.
(25) The principles of lawfulness, fairness and transparency and the grounds for lawful
processing are guaranteed in the law of the United Kingdom through Articles 5(1)(a)
and 6(1) of the UK GDPR, which are identical to the respective provisions in
Regulation (EU) 2016/67940
. Section 8 of the DPA 2018 complements Article 6(1)(e)
by providing that the processing of personal data under Article 6(1)(e) of the UK
GDPR (necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest, or in
the exercise of the controller’s official authority), includes processing of personal data
that is necessary for the administration of justice, the exercise of a function of either
House of Parliament, the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment
or rule of law, the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown or a
government department, or an activity that supports or promotes democratic
engagement.
(26) With respect to consent (one of the grounds for lawful processing), the UK GDPR also
retains the conditions provided for in the Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679
unmodified, that is to say the controller must be able to demonstrate that the data
subject has consented, a written request for consent must be presented using clear and
plain language, the data subject must have the right to withdraw consent at any time,
and when assessing whether consent is freely given, it should be taken into account
whether the performance of a contract is conditional on consent to the processing of
personal data that is not necessary for the performance of that contract. Moreover,
pursuant to Article 8 of the UK GDPR, in the context of the provision of information
society services a child’s consent is lawful only when the child is at least 13 years old.
This falls within the age bracket set in Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

37 “Biometric data” means personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the
physical, physiological or behavioural characteristics of an individual, which allows or confirms the
unique identification of that individual, such as facial images or dactyloscopic data.
38 “Data concerning health” means personal data relating to the physical or mental health of an individual,
including the provision of health care services, which reveals information about his or her health status.
39 “Genetic data” means personal data relating to the inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of an
individual which gives unique information about the physiology or the health of that individual and
which results, in particular, from an analysis of a biological sample from the individual in question.
40 Pursuant to Article 6(1) of the UK GDPR, processing is lawful only if and to the extent that: (a) the data
subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific
purposes; (b) processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party
or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract; (c) processing
is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject; (d) processing is
necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person; (e)
processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise
of official authority vested in the controller; or (f) processing is necessary for the purposes of the
legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are
overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require
protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child. EN 9 EN
2.5.2. Processing of special categories of personal data
(27) Specific safeguards should exist where “special categories” of data are being
processed.
(28) The UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 contain specific rules as regards the processing of
special categories of personal data, which are defined in Article 9(1) of the UK GDPR
in the same way as under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (see recital (23) above).
According to Article 9 of the UK GDPR, the processing of special categories of data is
in principle prohibited, unless a specific exception applies.
(29) These exceptions (listed in Article 9(2) and (3) of the UK GDPR) do not make any
changes of substance to those in Article 9(2) and (3) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.
Unless the data subject has given its explicit consent to the processing of those
personal data, the processing of special categories of personal data is only permitted in
specific and limited circumstances. In most instances, processing of sensitive data
must be necessary for a specific purpose defined in the relevant provision (see Article
9(2)(b), (c), (f), (g), (h), (i) and (j)).
(30) Moreover, where an exception under Article 9(2) of the UK GDPR requires an
authorisation by law or refers to the public interest, Section 10 of the DPA 2018
together with Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 further specify the conditions that must be
met for the exceptions to be relied upon. For example, in the case of processing of
sensitive data for protecting “public health” (Article 9(2)(i) of the UK GDPR),
paragraph 3(b) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 requires that, in addition to the necessity test,
such processing is carried out “by or under the responsibility of a health professional”
or “by another person who owes a duty of confidentiality under an enactment or rule
of law”, including under the well-established common law duty of confidentiality.
(31) Where sensitive data is processed for reasons of substantial public interest (Article
9(2)(g) of the UK GDPR), Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 provides an
exhaustive list of purposes that can be considered as of substantial public interest, and,
for each of these purposes, sets out specific additional conditions. For instance,
promoting racial and ethnic diversity at senior levels of organisations is recognised as
a substantial public interest. Processing of sensitive data for this specific purpose is
subject to detailed requirements, including that the processing is carried out as part of
a process of identifying suitable individuals to hold senior positions, is necessary to
promote racial and ethnic diversity and is not likely to cause substantial damage or
substantial distress to the data subject.
(32) Section 11(1) of the DPA 2018 sets out conditions for personal data to be processed in
the circumstances described in Article 9(3) of the UK GDPR relating to the obligation
of secrecy. This includes circumstances in which it is carried out by or under the
responsibility of a health professional or a social work professional, or by another
person who in the circumstances owes a duty of confidentiality under an enactment or
rule of law.
(33) In addition, many of the exceptions listed in Article 9(2) of the UK GDPR require
suitable and specific safeguards in order to be used. Depending on the nature of the
processing and the level of risk for the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the
conditions for processing provided for in Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 establish
different safeguards. Schedule 1 sets out the conditions for each processing situation in
turn. EN 10 EN
(34) In some cases, the DPA 2018 regulates and limits the type of sensitive data that may
be processed for a particular legal basis to be complied with. For example, paragraph 8
of Schedule 1 authorises the processing of sensitive data for the purpose of the
promotion of equality of opportunity or treatment. This processing condition can only
be used if the data reveals racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs,
sexual orientation, or if it is health data.
(35) In some cases, the DPA 2018 limits the type of controller that may use the processing
condition. For example, paragraph 23 of Schedule 1 provides for processing of
sensitive data in relation to elected representatives’ responses to the public. This
processing condition can only be used if the controller is the elected representative or
is acting under their authority.
(36) In some other cases, the DPA 2018 sets limits on the categories of data subject for the
processing condition to be used. For example, paragraph 21 of Schedule 1 regulates
the processing of sensitive data for occupational pension schemes. This condition can
only be used if the data subject in question is a sibling, parent, grandparent, or greatgrandparent of the scheme member.
(37) In addition, when relying on the exceptions in Article 9(2) of the UK GDPR that are
further specified in Section 10 of the DPA 2018 together with Schedule 1 to the DPA
2018, the controller in most instances is required to draft an “Appropriate Policy
Document”. It must outline the controller’s procedures for securing compliance with
the principles in Article 5 of the UK GDPR. It must also set out policies for retention
and erasure, with an indication of the likely storage period. Controllers must review
and update this document as appropriate. The controller must keep the policy
document for six months after processing is finished and must make it available to the
Information Commissioner on request41
.
(38) Pursuant to paragraph 41 of Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018, the Policy Document must
always be accompanied by an augmented record of processing. This record must track
the commitments included in the Policy Document, i.e. whether data is being erased or
retained in accordance with the policies. If the policies have not been followed, the log
must record the reasons. The record must also describe how the processing satisfies
Article 6 of the UK GDPR (lawfulness of processing) and the specific condition in
Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 relied on.
(39) Finally, like Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the UK GDPR also provides general
safeguards for certain processing operations of special categories of data. Article 35 of
the UK GDPR requires a data protection impact assessment if special categories of
data are processed on a large scale. Pursuant to Article 37 of the UK GDPR, a
controller or processor must designate a data protection officer where its core activities
consist of processing special categories of data on a large scale.
(40) With respect to personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences, Article 10
of the UK GDPR is identical to Article 10 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. It allows the
processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences only under
the control of official authority or when the processing is authorised by domestic law
providing for appropriate safeguards for the rights and freedoms of data subjects.

41 Paragraphs 38-40 of Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018.EN 11 EN
(41) Where the processing of data relating to criminal convictions and offences is not
carried out under the control of official authority, Section 10(5) of the DPA 2018
provides that such processing can take place only for the specific purposes/ in the
specific situations set out in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 and is
subject to the specific requirements that are set out for each of these
purposes/situations. For example, criminal convictions data can be processed by notfor-profit bodies if the processing is carried out (a) in the course of its legitimate
activities with appropriate safeguards by a foundation, association or other not-forprofit body with a political, philosophical, religious or trade union aim, and (b) on
condition that (i) the processing relates solely to the members or to former members of
the body or to persons who have regular contact with it in connection with its
purposes, and (ii) the personal data is not disclosed outside that body without the
consent of the data subjects.
(42) Moreover, Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the DPA 2018 sets out further circumstances in
which criminal convictions data may be used which correspond to the legal grounds
for processing of sensitive data in Article 9(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the
UK GDPR (e.g. consent of the data subject, vital interests of an individual if the data
subject is legally or physically unable to give consent, if data has already manifestly
been made public by the data subject, if processing is necessary for the establishment,
exercise or defence of a legal claim etc.).
2.5.3 Purpose limitation, accuracy, data minimisation, storage limitation and data security
(43) Personal data should be processed for a specific purpose and subsequently used only
insofar as this is not incompatible with the purpose of processing.
(44) This principle is provided in Article 5(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and has
been retained without changes in Article 5(1)(b) of the UK GDPR. The conditions on
further compatible processing pursuant to Article 6(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679
have also been retained with no material modifications in Article 6(4)(a) – (e) of UK
GDPR.
(45) Moreover, data should be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. It should
also be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which it is
processed, and in principle be kept for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for
which the personal data is processed.
(46) These principles of data minimisation, accuracy and storage limitation are set out in
Article 5(1)(c) to (e) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and are retained without
modifications in Article 5(1)(c) to (e) in the UK GDPR.
(47) Personal data should also be processed in a manner that ensures their security,
including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against
accidental loss, destruction or damage. To that end, business operators should take
appropriate technical or organisational measures to protect personal data from possible
threats. These measures should be assessed taking into consideration the state of the
art and related costs.
(48) Data security is enshrined in the law of the United Kingdom through the principle of
integrity and confidentiality in Article 5(1)(f) of the UK GDPR and in Article 32 of
the UK GDPR on security of processing. Those provisions are identical to the
respective provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Moreover, under the same
conditions as those set out in Articles 33 and 34 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the UK
GDPR requires the notification of a personal data breach to the supervisory authority EN 12 EN
(Article 33 of the UK GDPR) and the communication of a personal data breach to the
data subject (Article 34 of the UK GDPR).
2.5.4 Transparency
(49) Data subjects should be informed of the main features of the processing of their
personal data.
(50) This is ensured by Articles 13 and 14 of the UK GDPR, which, in addition to a general
principle of transparency, provide rules on the information to be provided to the data
subject42. The UK GDPR introduces no material modifications to these rules compared
to the corresponding articles of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. However, like under
Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the transparency requirements of those articles are subject
to several exceptions laid down in the DPA 2018 (see recitals (55) to (72)).
2.5.5 Individual rights
(51) Data subjects should have certain rights which can be enforced against the controller
or processor, in particular the right of access to data, the right to object to the
processing and the right to have data rectified and erased. At the same time, such
rights may be subject to restrictions, as far as these restrictions are necessary and
proportionate to safeguard public security or other important objectives of general
public interest.
2.5.5.1 The substantive rights
(52) The UK GDPR grants individuals the same enforceable rights as Regulation (EU)
2016/679. The provisions providing the rights of the individuals have been maintained
in the UK GDPR without material changes.
(53) The rights include the right of access by the data subject (Article 15 of the UK
GDPR), the right to rectification (Article 16 of the UK GDPR), the right to erasure
(Article 17 of the UK GDPR), the right to restriction of processing (Article 18 of the
UK GDPR), a notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of personal data
or restriction of processing (Article 19 of the UK GDPR), the right to data portability
(Article 20 of the UK GDPR), and the right to object (Article 21 of the UK GDPR)43
.
The latter also includes the right of a data subject to object to the processing of
personal data for the purpose of direct marketing provided in paragraphs 2 and 3 of
Article 21 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Moreover, under Section 122 of the DPA

42 In Articles 13(1)(f) and 14(1)(f) the references to adequacy decisions by the Commission have been
replaced with references to equivalent United Kingdom instrument i.e. adequacy regulations under the
DPA 2018. In addition, in Articles 14(5)(c)-(d) the references to EU or Member State law have been
replaced with a reference to domestic law (as examples of such domestic law that may fall under Article
14(5)(c), the United Kingdom has mentioned Section 7 of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 that
provides rules for register of scrap metal licences or Part 35 of the Companies Act 2006 providing the
rules for the registrar of companies. Similarly, an example of domestic law that may fall under Art
14(5)(d) could include legislation laying down rules on professional confidentiality, or obligations
reflected in contracts of employment or the common law duty of confidentiality (such as personal data
processed by health professionals, human resources, social workers etc.).
43 In Articles 17(1)(e) and 17(3)(b) the references to EU or Member State law have been replaced with a
reference to domestic law (as examples of such domestic law under Article 17(1)(e), the United
Kingdom has mentioned the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2006 that requires
the names of the pupils to be erased from the school registries after they have left the school or Medical
Act 1983, Section 34F, which set outs the rules on the removal of names from the General Practitioner
Register and the Specialist Register.EN 13 EN
2018, the Information Commissioner must prepare a Code of Practice in relation to the
carrying out of direct marketing in accordance with the requirements of the data
protection legislation (and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive)
Regulations 2003) and such other guidance to promote good practice in direct
marketing that the Commissioner considers appropriate. The Information
Commissioner’s Office is currently developing the direct marketing code44
.
(54) The data subject’s right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated
processing that produces legal effects concerning them, or similarly affects them
significantly, as provided in Article 22 GDPR, has also been retained in UK GDPR
without substantial changes. However, a new paragraph 3A has been added to
reference that Section 14 of the DPA 2018 sets out safeguards for data subjects’ rights,
freedoms and legitimate interests when the processing is carried out under Article
22(2)(b) of the UK GDPR. This only applies when the basis for such a decision is an
authorisation or requirement under United Kingdom law, and does not apply where the
decision is necessary under a contract or made with the data subject’s explicit consent.
Where Section 14 of the DPA 2018 applies, the controller must, as soon as reasonably
practicable, notify the data subject in writing that a decision has been taken based
solely on automated processing. The data subject has a right to request that the
controller – within one month of receipt of the notice – reconsider the decision, or to
take a new decision that is not based solely on automated processing. The Secretary of
State is empowered to adopt further safeguards as regards automated decision-making.
This power has not yet been exercised.
2.5.5.2 Restrictions to individual rights and other provisions
(55) The DPA 2018 sets out several restrictions to individual rights, fitting within the
framework of Article 23 of the UK GDPR. No restrictions are introduced within this
framework concerning the right to object to direct marketing as provided in Article
21(2) and (3) of the UK GDPR or to the right not to be subject to automated decision
making as provided in Article 22 of the UK GDPR.
(56) The restrictions are detailed in Schedules 2-4 to the DPA 2018. The United Kingdom
authorities have explained that they are guided by two principles: the principle of
specificity (taking a granular approach, splitting broad restrictions into multiple, more
specific provisions) and the principle of conditionality (each provision is
complemented by safeguards in the form of limitations or conditions to prevent
abuse)45
.
(57) The restrictions described in Article 23(1) of the UK GDPR are designed to ensure
they only apply in specified circumstances where necessary in a democratic society
and proportionate to the legitimate aim they pursue. Furthermore, in accordance with
established case law on the interpretation of restrictions, an exemption from the data
protection regime can only be applied in any particular case if it is necessary and

44 The draft Code of Practice can be found at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-theico/consultations/2616882/direct-marketing-code-draft-guidance.pdf
45 UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, Section E: Restrictions, page 1, available at the
following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/87223
2/E_-_Narrative_on_Restrictions.pdfEN 14 EN
proportionate to do so46. The test of necessity has been required to be “a strict one,
requiring any interference with the subject’s rights to be proportionate to the gravity of
the threat to the public interest. The exercise therefore involves a classic
proportionality analysis47.”
(58) The aims pursued by these restrictions correspond to the ones listed in Article 23 of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679, except for the restrictions for national security and defence
that are instead regulated by Section 26 of the DPA 2018, but are subject to the same
requirements of necessity and proportionality (see recitals (63) to (66)).
(59) Some of the restrictions, for example those related to the prevention or detection of
crime, to the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, and to the assessment or
collection of tax or duty48 permit restrictions to all the individual rights and
transparency obligations (excluding rights under Article 21(2) and Article 22). The
scope of other restrictions is limited to transparency obligations and access rights, such
as the restrictions relating to legal professional privilege49, to the right to freedom from
a requirement to provide information that would lead to self-incrimination50, and to
corporate finance, notably the prevention of insider trading51. Few of the restrictions
permit a restriction to the controller’s obligation to communicate a data breach to a
data subject and the principles of purpose limitation, and lawfulness, fairness and
transparency of the processing52
.
(60) Some of the restrictions apply automatically “in full” to a certain type of processing of
personal data (for example, the application of transparency obligations and individual
rights is excluded when personal data is processed for the purposes of assessing a
person’s suitability for judicial office or personal data is processed by a court, tribunal,
or individual, acting in a judicial capacity).
(61) However, in the majority of cases, the relevant paragraph in Schedule 2 to the DPA
2018 specifies that the restriction applies only when (and to the extent) that the
application of the provisions “would be likely to prejudice” the legitimate aim pursued
by that restriction: for example, the listed provisions of the UK GDPR do not apply to
personal data processed for the prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension or
prosecution of offenders, or the assessment or collection of a tax or duty “to the extent
that the application of those provisions would be likely to prejudice” any of these
matters53
.

46 Open Rights Group & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department &
Anor [2019] EWHC 2562 (Admin), paragraphs 40 and 41.
47 Guriev v Community Safety Development (United Kingdom) Ltd [2016] EWHC 643 (QB), paragraph
43. On this see also Lin v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2015] EWHC 2484 (QB),
paragraph 80.
48 Paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018.
49 Paragraph 19 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018.
50 Paragraph 20 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018.
51 Paragraph 21 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018.
52 For instance, restrictions to the right to a data breach notification are permitted only in relation to crime
and taxation (paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018), parliamentary privilege (paragraph 13 of
Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018) and processing for journalistic, academic, artistic and literary purposes
(paragraph 26 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018).
53 Paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018.EN 15 EN
(62) The “would be likely to prejudice” standard has been consistently interpreted by UK
courts to mean “a very significant and weighty chance of prejudice to the identified
public interests”
54. A restriction subject to the prejudice test can therefore only be
invoked if and to the extent that there is a very significant and weighty chance that the
granting of a certain right would prejudice the public interest at stake. The controller is
responsible for assessing on case-by-case basis whether these conditions are
fulfilled55
.
(63) In addition to the restrictions contained in Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018, Section 26 of
the DPA 2018 provides an exemption which may be applied to certain provisions of
the UK GDPR and of the DPA 2018 if that exemption is required for the purpose of
safeguarding national security or for defence purposes. This exemption applies to the
data protection principles (except the principle of lawfulness), the transparency
obligations, the rights of the data subject, the obligation to notify a data breach, rules
on international transfers, some of the duties and powers of the Information
Commissioner, and the rules on remedies, liabilities and penalties, except for the
provision on the general conditions for imposing administrative fines set out in Article
83 of the UK GDPR and the provision on penalties in Article 84 of the UK GDPR.
Moreover Section 28 of the DPA 2018 modifies the application of Article 9(1) to
enable the processing of special categories of data in Article 9(1) of the UK GDPR to
the extent that the processing is carried out for safeguarding national security or for
defence purposes, and with appropriate safeguards for the rights and freedoms of data
subjects56
.
(64) The exemption can only be applied to the extent that it is required to safeguard
national security or defence. As it is also the case for the other exemptions provided
for by the DPA 2018, it must be considered and invoked by the controller on a caseby-case basis. Moreover, any application of the exemption must be in compliance with
human right standards (underpinned by the Human Rights Act 1998), according to
which any interference with privacy rights should be necessary and proportionate in a
democratic society57
.
(65) This interpretation of the exemption is confirmed by the ICO that has issued detailed
guidance on the application of the national security and defence exemption, making
clear that it must be considered and applied by the controller on a case by case basis58
.

54 R (Lord) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] EWHC 2073 (Admin), paragraph 100,
and Guriev v Community Safety Development (United Kingdom) Ltd [2016] EWHC 643 (QB),
paragraph 43.
55 Open Rights Group & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department &
Anor, paragraph 31.
56 According to the information provided by the UK authorities, where processing is in the national
security context, controllers will typically be applying enhanced safeguards and security measures to the
processing, reflecting the sensitive nature of the processing. Which safeguards are appropriate will
depend on the risks posed by the processing being undertaken. This could include restrictions on access
to the data so it can only be accessed by authorised persons with appropriate security clearance, strict
restrictions on sharing the data, and the high standard of security applied to the storage and handling
procedures.
57 See also Guriev v Community Safety Development (United Kingdom) Ltd [2016] EWHC 643 (QB),
paragraph 45; Lin v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis [2015] EWHC 2484 (QB),
paragraph 80.
58 See ICO’s guidance on the national security and defence exception, available at the following link
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protectionregulation-gdpr/national-security-and-defence/EN 16 EN
In particular, the guidance stresses that “[t]his is not a blanket exemption” and that, in
order to invoke it, “it is not enough that the data is processed for national security
purposes”. By contrast, the controller relying on it must “show that there is a real
possibility of an adverse effect on national security” and, when necessary, the
controller is expected to “provide [the ICO] with evidence about why [it] used this
exemption”. The guidance contains a checklist and a series of examples to further
clarify the conditions under which this exemption can be invoked.
(66) The fact that the data is processed for national security or defence purposes is
therefore not on its own sufficient for the exemption to be applied. A controller must
consider the actual consequences to national security if it had to comply with the
particular data protection provision. The exemption can only be applied to those
specific provisions which have been identified as posing the risk and must be applied
as restrictively as possible59
.
(67) This approach has been confirmed by the Information Tribunal60. In the case of Baker
v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“Baker v Secretary of State”), it
determined that it was unlawful to apply the national security exemption as a blanket
exemption to access requests received by the intelligence services. Instead, the
exemption had to be applied on a case-by-case basis, by looking at each request on its
merit and in view of the right of individuals to respect for their private lives61
.
2.5.6 Restrictions for personal data processed for journalistic, artistic, academic and
literary purposes as well as archiving and research
(68) Article 85(2) of the UK GDPR allows for provision to be made for personal data
processed for journalistic, artistic, academic and literary purposes to be exempt from
several provisions of the UK GDPR. Part 5 of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018 sets out the
exemptions for processing for these purposes. It provides for exemptions from the data
protection principles (except the principle of integrity and confidentiality), the legal
grounds for processing (incl. special categories of data and criminal convictions etc.
data), the conditions for consent, the transparency obligations, the rights of the data
subjects, the obligation to notify data breaches, and the requirement to consult the
Information Commissioner prior to high risk processing, and the rules on international
transfers62. In this regard, the UK GDPR does not depart in a substantive manner from

59 According to an example provided by the UK authorities, if a suspected terrorist under active
investigation by MI5 made an access request to the Home Office (for instance, because he is engaged in
a dispute with the Home Office over immigration matters), it would be necessary to protect from
disclosure to the data subject any data that MI5 may have shared with the Home Office relating to
ongoing investigations that could prejudice sensitive sources, methods or techniques and/or lead to an
increase in the threat posed by the individual. In such circumstances it is likely that the threshold to
apply the Section 26 exemption would have been met and an exemption from disclosing the information
would be required in order to safeguard national security. However, if the Home Office also held
personal data about the individual which did not relate to the MI5 investigation and that information
could be provided without risk of damage to national security, then the national security exemption
would not be applicable when considering disclosure of information to the individual. The ICO is
currently preparing guidance on how controllers should approach the use of the exemption at Section
26. The guidance is expected to be published by the end of March 2021.
60 The Information Tribunal was established to hear data protection appeals under the Data Protection Act
1984. In 2010 the Information Tribunal became part of the General Regulatory Chamber of the First
Tier Tribunal, as part of the reform of the structure of the UK system of tribunals.
61 See Baker v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2001] UKIT NSA2 (“Baker v Secretary of
State”).
62 See Article 85 of the UK GDPR and Schedule 2, Part 5, paragraph 26(9) to the DPA 2018. EN 17 EN
Regulation (EU) 2016/679, which in its Article 85 also provides for the possibility to
exempt processing carried out for journalistic purposes or the purposes of academic,
artistic or literary expression from a number of requirements of Regulation (EU)
2016/679. The provisions of the DPA 2018, notably Schedule 2, Part 5, are compatible
with the UK GDPR.
(69) The core balancing exercise to be carried out under Article 85 of the UK GDPR relates
to whether an exemption to the data protection rules mentioned in recital (68) is
“necessary to reconcile the right to the protection of personal data with the freedom of
expression and information”63. According to Schedule 2, paragraphs 26(2) and (3) to
the DPA 2018, the United Kingdom applies a “reasonable belief” test in order for this
balance to be struck. For an exemption to be justified, the controller must reasonably
believe (i) that publication is in the public interest; and (ii) that the application of the
relevant GDPR provision would be incompatible with journalistic, academic, artistic
or literary purposes. As confirmed by case law64, the “reasonable belief” test has both
a subjective and an objective component: it is insufficient for the controller to
demonstrate that he himself believed compliance was incompatible. His belief must be
reasonable, i.e. it could be believed by a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts.
The controller must therefore exercise due diligence when forming his belief in order
to be able to demonstrate reasonableness. According to the explanations provided by
the United Kingdom authorities, the “reasonable belief” test must be carried out on an
exemption-by-exemption basis65. If the conditions are met, the exemption is
considered necessary and proportionate under United Kingdom law.
(70) According to Section 124 of the DPA 2018, the ICO is to prepare a Code of Practice
on Data Protection and Journalism. Work on this Code is ongoing. Guidance on the
matter under the Data Protection Act 1998 has been issued which notably stresses that,
to rely on this exemption, it is insufficient to merely state that compliance would be an
inconvenience for journalist activities, but there must be a clear argument that the

63 In accordance with Schedule 2, Part 5, paragraph 26(2) to the DPA 2018, the exception applies to the
processing of personal data carried out for special purposes (the purposes of journalism, academic
purposes, artistic purposes and literary purposes), if the processing is being carried out with a view to
the publication by a person of journalistic, academic, artistic or literary material, and the controller
reasonably believes that the publication of that material would be in the public interest. In determining
whether a publication would be in the public interest, the controller must take into account the special
importance of the public interest in the freedom of expression and information. Moreover, the controller
must have regard to codes of practice or guidelines relevant to the publication in question (the BBC
Editorial Guidelines, Ofcom Broadcasting Code, and Editors’ Code of Practice). Furthermore, for an
exemption to apply, the controller must reasonably believe that compliance with the relevant provision
would be incompatible with the special purposes (paragraph 26(3) of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018).
64 The judgment in NT1 v. Google [2018] EWHC 799 (QB), paragraph 102 addressed a discussion of
whether the data controller held a reasonable belief that publication was in the public interest, and that
compliance with the relevant provisions was incompatible with the special purposes. The court stated
that Sections 32(1) (b) and (c) of Data Protection Act 1998 had a subjective and an objective element:
the data controller must establish that it held a belief that publication would be in the public interest, and
that this belief was objectively reasonable; it must establish a subjective belief that compliance with the
provision from which it seeks exemption would be incompatible with the special purpose in question.
65 An example of how the “reasonable belief” test is applied is included in the ICO’s decision to fine True
Visions Productions, which was made under the Data Protection Act 1998. The ICO accepted that the
media controller had a subjective belief that compliance with the first data protection principle (fairness
and lawfulness) was incompatible with journalistic purposes. However, the ICO did not accept this
belief was objectively reasonable. The ICO decision is available at the following link:
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/mpns/2614746/true-visions-productions-20190408.pdfEN 18 EN
provision in question presents an obstacle to responsible journalism66. Guidance on the
application of the public interest test and the balancing of public interest against an
individual’s interest in privacy has also been published by the United Kingdom’s
telecommunications regulator OFCOM and the BBC in its editorial guidelines67. The
guidelines notably provide examples of information that can be considered in the
public interest, and explain the need to be able to demonstrate that the public interest
outweighs privacy rights in the particular circumstances of the case.
(71) Similarly to what is provided in Article 89 GDPR, personal data processed for
archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or
statistical purposes can also be exempted from a number of listed provisions of the UK
GDPR68. As regards research and statistics, exemptions are possible to the provisions
of the UK GDPR related to confirmation of processing and access to data and
safeguards for third country transfers; right to rectification; restriction of processing
and objection to processing. As regards archiving in the public interest, exemptions are
also possible to the notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of
personal data or restriction of processing and to the right to data portability.
(72) According to paragraphs 27(1) and 28(1) of Schedule 2 to the DPA 2018, the
exemptions to the listed provisions of the UK GDPR are possible where the
application of the provisions would “prevent or seriously impair the achievement” of
the purposes in question69
.
(73) Given their relevance for an effective exercise of individual rights, any relevant
development regarding the interpretation and application in practice of the abovementioned exemptions (in addition to the one relating to the maintenance of effective
immigration control, as explained in recital (6)), including any further development of
the case law and of ICO guidance and enforcement actions, will be duly taken into
account in the context of the continuous monitoring of this Decision70
.
2.5.7 Restrictions on onward transfers
(74) The level of protection afforded to personal data transferred from the European Union
to controllers or processors in the United Kingdom must not be undermined by the

66 Pursuant to the guidance, organisations must be able to explain why complying with the relevant
provision of the Data Protection Act 1998 is incompatible with the purposes of journalism. In particular,
controllers must balance the detrimental effect compliance would have on journalism against the
detrimental effect non-compliance would have on the rights of the data subject. If a journalist can
reasonably achieve their editorial aims in a way that complies with the standard provisions of the DPA,
they must. Organisations must be able to justify their use of the restriction in respect of every provision
they have not complied with. “Data protection and journalism: a guide for the media”, available at the
following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1552/data-protection-andjournalism-media-guidance.pdf
67 Examples of public interest would include revealing or detecting crime, protecting public health or
safety, exposing misleading claims made by individuals or organisations or disclosing incompetence
that affects the public. See OFCOM’s guidance available at the following link:
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/132083/Broadcast-Code-Section-8.pdf and
BBC’s editorial guidelines available at the following link:
https://www.bbc.com/editorialguidelines/guidelines/privacy
68 See Article 89 of the UK GDPR and paragraphs 27(2) and 28(2) of Part 6 of Schedule 2 to the DPA
2018.
69 This is subject to the requirement that personal data is processed in accordance with Article 89(1) of the
UK GDPR as supplemented by Section 19 of the DPA 2018.
70 See recitals (281) to (287).EN 19 EN
further transfer of such data to recipients in a third country. Such “onward transfers”,
which from the perspective of the United Kingdom controller or processor constitute
international transfers from the United Kingdom, should be permitted only where the
further recipient outside the United Kingdom is itself subject to rules ensuring a
similar level of protection to that guaranteed within the United Kingdom legal order.
For this reason, the application of the rules of the UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 on
international transfers of personal data is an important factor to ensure the continuity
of protection in the case of personal data transferred from the European Union to the
United Kingdom under this Decision.
(75) The regime on international transfers of personal data from the United Kingdom is set
out in Articles 44-49 of the UK GDPR, supplemented by the DPA 2018, and is in
substance identical to the rules set out in Chapter V of Regulation (EU) 2016/67971
.
Transfers of personal data to a third country or international organisation can only take
place on the basis of adequacy regulations (the UK equivalent to an adequacy decision
under Regulation (EU) 2016/679), or in the absence of adequacy regulations, where
the controller or processor has provided appropriate safeguards in accordance with
Article 46 of the UK GDPR. In the absence of adequacy regulations or appropriate
safeguards, a transfer can only take place based on derogations set out in Article 49 of
the UK GDPR.
(76) The adequacy regulations made by the Secretary of State can stipulate that a third
country (or a territory or a sector within a third country), an international organisation,
or a description72 of such a country, territory, sector, or organisation ensures an
adequate level of protection of personal data. When assessing the adequacy of the
level of protection, the Secretary of State must take into account the exact same
elements that the Commission is required to assess under Article 45(2)(a)-(c) of

71 With the exception of Article 48 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 that the United Kingdom has chosen not
to include in the UK GDPR. In that respect, it should, first of all, be recalled that the standard to be
considered as providing an adequate level of protection is a standard of “essential equivalence” rather
than identity, as clarified by the CJEU (Schrems I, paragraphs 73-74) and recognized by the EDPB
(Adequacy Referential, page 3). Therefore, as explained by the EDPB in its Adequacy Referential, “the
objective is not to mirror point by point the European legislation, but to establish the essential – core
requirements of that legislation”. In this respect, it is important to note that, while the UK legal order
does not formally contain an identical provision to Article 48, the same effect is guaranteed by other
legal provisions and principles, i.e. that in response to a request for personal data by a court or
administrative authority in a third country, personal data can only be transferred to that third country if
there is an international agreement in place – on the basis of which the third country’s court judgment or
administrative decision in question is recognized or enforced in the United Kingdom – or if it is based
on one of the transfer mechanisms provided by Chapter V of the UK GDPR. More specifically, in order
to enforce a foreign judgment, courts in the UK need to be able to point to common law or to a statute
that allows its enforceability. However, neither common law (see Adams and Others v Cape Industries
Plc., [1990] 2 W.L.R. 657) nor statutes provide for the enforcement of foreign judgments requiring the
transfer of data without an international agreement in place. As a consequence, requests for data are
unenforceable under United Kingdom law, absent such an international agreement. Furthermore, any
transfer of personal data to third countries – including upon request from a foreign court or
administrative authority – remains subject to the restrictions set out in Chapter V of the UK GDPR
which are identical to the corresponding provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, and therefore require
to rely on one of the grounds for transfer available under Chapter V in accordance with the specific
conditions to which it is subject under that Chapter.
72 The UK authorities have explained that the description of a country or international organisation refers
to a situation where it would be necessary to do a specific and partial determination of adequacy with
focused restrictions (for example adequacy regulations in relation to only certain types of data
transfers).EN 20 EN
Regulation (EU) 2016/679, interpreted together with recital 104 of Regulation (EU)
2016/679 and the retained EU case law. This means that, when assessing the adequate
level of protection of a third country, the relevant standard will be whether that third
country in question ensures a level of protection “essentially equivalent” to that
guaranteed within the United Kingdom.
(77) As for the procedure, adequacy regulations are subject to the “general” procedural
requirements provided for in Section 182 of the DPA 2018. Under this procedure, the
Secretary of State must consult the Information Commissioner when proposing to
adopt UK adequacy regulations73. Once adopted by the Secretary of State, those
regulations are laid before Parliament and subject to the “negative resolution”
procedure under which both Houses of Parliament can scrutinise the regulations and
have the ability to pass a motion annulling the regulations within a 40 day period74
.
(78) According to Section 17B(1) of the DPA 2018, the adequacy regulations must be
reviewed at intervals of not more than four years and the Secretary of State must, on
an ongoing basis, monitor developments in third countries and international
organisations that could affect decisions to make adequacy regulations, or to amend or
revoke such regulations. Where the Secretary of State becomes aware that a country or
organisation specified no longer ensures an adequate level of protection of personal
data, he must, to the extent necessary, amend or revoke the regulations and enter into
consultations with the third country or international organisation concerned to remedy
the lack of an adequate level of protection. These procedural aspects also mirror the
corresponding requirements of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.
(79) In the absence of adequacy regulations, international transfers can take place where the
controller or processor has provided appropriate safeguards in accordance with Article
46 of the UK GDPR. These safeguards are similar to those under Article 46 of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679. They include legally binding and enforceable instruments
between public authorities or bodies, binding corporate rules75, standard data
protection clauses, approved codes of conduct, approved certification mechanisms,
and with authorisation from the Information Commissioner, contractual clauses
between controllers (or processors) or administrative arrangements between public
authorities. However, the rules have been modified, from a procedural point of view,
to work within the United Kingdom framework, in particular the standard data
protection clauses can be adopted by the Secretary of State (Section 17C) or the
Information Commissioner (Section 119A) in accordance with the DPA 2018.
(80) In absence of an adequacy decision or appropriate safeguards, a transfer can only take
place based on derogations set out in Article 49 of the UK GDPR76. The UK GDPR

73 See the Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport and the Information’s Commissioner’s Office on the role of the ICO in
relation to new UK adequacy assessment, available at following link
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/memorandum-of-understanding-mou-on-the-role-of-theico-in-relation-to-new-uk-adequacy-assessments.
74 If such a vote is passed the regulations will ultimately cease to have any further legal effect.
75 The UK GDPR retains the rules in Article 47 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 subject to only
modifications to fit the rules into domestic context, for example by replacing the references to
competent supervisory authority to the Information Commissioner, deleting reference to consistency
mechanism from paragraph 1 and deleting the entire paragraph 3.
76 Under Article 49 of the UK GDPR, transfers are possible if one of the following conditions is satisfied:
(a) the data subject has explicitly consented to the proposed transfer, after having been informed of the EN 21 EN
introduces no material changes to the derogations, compared to the corresponding
rules of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Under the UK GDPR, as under Regulation (EU)
2016/679, certain derogations can only be relied on if the transfer is occasional77
.
Moreover, the ICO in its guidance on international transfers, clarifies that: “You
should only use these as true ‘exceptions’ from the general rule that you should not
make a restricted transfer unless it is covered by an adequacy decision or there are
appropriate safeguards in place”78
. With respect to transfers that are necessary for
important reasons of public interest (Article 49(1)(d)), the Secretary of State can make
regulations to specify circumstances in which a transfer of personal data to a third
country or international organisation is not necessary for important reasons of public
interest. Furthermore, the Secretary of State can by regulations restrict the transfer of a
category of personal data to a third country or international organisation where the
transfer cannot take place based on adequacy regulations, and the Secretary of State
considers the restriction to be necessary for important reasons of public interest. No
such regulations have been adopted so far.
(81) This framework for international transfers has become applicable at the end of the
transition period79. However, paragraph 4 of Schedule 21 to the DPA 2018 (introduced
by the DPPEC Regulations) provide that as of the end of the transition period, certain
transfers of personal data are treated as if they are based on adequacy regulations.
These transfers include transfers to an EEA State, the territory of Gibraltar, a Union
institution, body, office or agency set up by, or on the basis of the EU Treaty, and third
countries which were the subject of an EU adequacy decision at the end of the
transition period. Consequently, the transfers to these countries can continue as before
the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. After the end of the transition period,

possible risks of such transfers for the data subject due to the absence of an adequacy decision and
appropriate safeguards; (b) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data
subject and the controller or the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken at the data subject’s
request; (c) the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the
interest of the data subject between the controller and another natural or legal person; (d) the transfer is
necessary for important reasons of public interest; (e) the transfer is necessary for the establishment,
exercise or defence of legal claims; (f) the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of
the data subject or of other persons, where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving
consent; (g) the transfer is made from a register which according to domestic law is intended to provide
information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any
person who can demonstrate a legitimate interest, but only to the extent that the conditions laid down by
domestic law for consultation are fulfilled in the particular case. Furthermore, where none of the above
conditions are applicable, a transfer may take place only if it is not repetitive, concerns only a limited
number of data subjects, is necessary for the purposes of compelling legitimate interests pursued by the
controller which are not overridden by the interests or rights and freedoms of the data subject, and the
controller has assessed all the circumstances surrounding the data transfer and has on the basis of that
assessment provided suitable safeguards with regard to the protection of personal data.
77 Recital 111 of the UK GDPR specifies that transfers in relation to a contract or a legal claim can only
take place where they are occasional.
78 ICO guidance on international transfers, available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/fororganisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulationgdpr/international-transfers/#ib7
79 During a period of maximum six months ending at the latest on 30 June 2021, the applicability of this
new framework must be read in the light of Article 782 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement
between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (L 444/14 of 31.12.2020) (“the
EU-UK TCA”), available at the following link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22020A1231(01)&from=ENEN 22 EN
the Secretary of State must conduct a review of these adequacy findings during a
period of four years, i.e. by the end of December 2024. According to the explanation
provided by the United Kingdom authorities, although the Secretary of State needs to
undertake such a review by the end of December 2024, the transitional provisions do
not include a “sunset” provision and the relevant transitional provisions will not
automatically cease to have effect if a review is not completed by the end of December
2024.
(82) Finally, as regards the future evolution of the United Kingdom’s international transfers
regime – through the adoption of new adequacy regulations, the conclusion of
international agreements or the development of other transfer mechanisms – the
Commission will closely monitor the situation, assess whether the different transfer
mechanisms are used in a way that ensures the continuity of protection, and, if
necessary, take appropriate measures to address possible adverse effects for such
continuity (see recitals (278) to (287)). As the EU and the United Kingdom share
similar rules on international transfers, it is expected that problematic divergence
could also be avoided through cooperation, exchange of information and sharing of
experience, including between the ICO and the EDPB.
2.5.8 Accountability
(83) Under the accountability principle, entities processing data are required to put in place
appropriate technical and organisational measures to effectively comply with their data
protection obligations and be able to demonstrate such compliance, in particular to the
competent supervisory authority.
(84) The principle of accountability provided for in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 has been
retained in Article 5(2) of the UK GDPR without material change and the same applies
to Article 24 on the responsibility of the controller, Article 25 on data protection by
design and by default and Article 30 on records of processing activities. Articles 35
and 36 on data protection impact assessment and prior consultation of supervisory
authority have also been retained. Articles 37-39 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the
designation and the tasks of the data protection officers have been retained in the UK
GDPR with no material changes. Furthermore, the provisions of Articles 40 and 42 of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on codes of conduct and certification have been retained in
the UK GDPR80
.
2.6 Oversight and enforcement
2.6.1 Independent Oversight
(85) In order to ensure that an adequate level of data protection is guaranteed in practice, an
independent supervisory authority tasked with powers to monitor and enforce
compliance with the data protection rules should be in place. This authority should act
with complete independence and impartiality in performing its duties and exercising
its powers.
(86) In the United Kingdom, the oversight and enforcement of compliance with the UK
GDPR and the DPA 2018 is carried out by the Information Commissioner. The
Information Commissioner is a “Corporation Sole”: a separate legal entity constituted

80 Where necessary, these references are replaced with references to the United Kingdom authorities. For
example, under Section 17 of the DPA 2018, the Information Commissioner or United Kingdom
national accreditation body can accredit a person meeting the requirements set out in Article 43 of the
UK GDPR to monitor compliance with a certification. EN 23 EN
in a single person. The Information Commissioner is supported in her work by an
office. On 31 March 2020 the Information Commissioner’s Office had 768 permanent
staff81. The sponsor-department of the Information Commissioner is the Department
for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport82
.
(87) The independence of the Commissioner is explicitly established in Article 52 of the
UK GDPR which does not make any substantive changes to Article 52(1)-(3) GDPR.
The Commissioner must act with complete independence in performing her tasks and
exercising her powers in accordance with the UK GDPR, remain free from external
influence, whether direct or indirect, in relation to those tasks and powers, and neither
seek nor take instructions from anyone. The Commissioner must also refrain from any
action incompatible with her duties and shall not, while holding office, engage in any
incompatible occupation, whether gainful or not.
(88) The conditions for the appointment and removal of the Information Commissioner are
set out in Schedule 12 to the DPA 2018. The Information Commissioner is appointed
by Her Majesty on a recommendation from Government pursuant to a fair and open
competition. The candidate must have the appropriate qualifications, skills and
competence. In accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments83, a
list of appointable candidates is made by an advisory assessment panel. Before the
Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport finalises his
or her decision, the relevant Select Committee of Parliament must carry out a preappointment scrutiny. The position of the Committee is made public84
.
(89) The Information Commissioner holds office for a term of up to seven years. A person
cannot be appointed as the Information Commissioner more than once. The
Information Commissioner can be removed from office by Her Majesty following an
Address by both Houses of Parliament85. No request for dismissal of the Information
Commissioner can be presented to either House of Parliament unless a Minister has
presented a report stating that he or she is satisfied that the Information Commissioner
is guilty of serious misconduct and/or the Commissioner no longer fulfils the
conditions required for the performance of the Commissioner’s functions86
.

81 Information Commissioner’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019-2020, available at the
following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/documents/2618021/annual-report-2019-20-v83-
certified.pdf
82 A Management Agreement regulates the relation between the two. In particular, the key responsibilities
of DCMS, as sponsoring department, include: ensuring that the Information Commissioner is
adequately funded and resourced; representing the interests of the Information Commissioner to
Parliament and other Government departments; ensuring that there is a robust national data protection
framework in place; and providing guidance and support to the Information Commissioner’s Office on
corporate issues such as estate issues, leases and procurement (the Management Agreement 2018-2021,
available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/documents/2259800/managementagreement-2018-2021.pdf)
83 Governance Code on Public Appointments, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/57849
8/governance_code_on_public_appointments_16_12_2016.pdf
84 Second Report of Session 2015-2016 of the Culture, Media and Sports Committee at the House of
Commons,, available at the following link:
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmcumeds/990/990.pdf
85 An “Address” is a motion laid before Parliament which seeks to make the Monarch aware of
Parliament’s opinions on a particular issue.
86 Paragraph 3(3) of Schedule 12 to the DPA 2018.EN 24 EN
(90) The funding of the Information Commissioner comes from three sources: (i) data
protection charges paid by controllers, which are set by Secretary of State’s
regulations87 (the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018), and
amount to 85% – 90% of the Office’s annual budget88; (ii) grant in aid paid by the
Government to the Information Commissioner. Grant in aid is mainly used to finance
the operating costs of the Information Commissioner as regards non-data protection
related tasks89; and (iii) fees charged for services90. At present, no such fees are
charged.
(91) The general functions of the Information Commissioner in relation to the processing of
personal data that the UK GDPR applies to, are laid down in Article 57 of the UK
GDPR, mirroring closely the corresponding rules of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Its
functions include monitoring and enforcement of the UK GDPR, promoting public
awareness, handling complaints lodged by the data subjects, conducting investigations
etc.. In addition, Section 115 of the DPA 2018 sets out other general functions of the
Commissioner, which include a duty to advise Parliament, the government and other
institutions and bodies on legislative and administrative measures relating to the
protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms with regard to the processing of
personal data, and a power to issue, on the Commissioner’s own initiative or on
request, opinions to Parliament, the government or other institutions and bodies as
well as to the public on any issue related to the protection of personal data. To
maintain the independence of the judiciary, the Information Commissioner is not
authorised to exercise her functions in relation to the processing of personal data by an
individual acting in a judicial capacity, or a court or tribunal acting in its judicial
capacity. However, oversight on the judiciary is ensured by specialised bodies (see
recitals (99) to (103).
2.6.2 Enforcement, including sanctions
(92) The powers of the Information Commissioner are set out in Article 58 of the UK
GDPR, which introduces no material changes to the corresponding article of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679. The DPA 2018 sets out supplementary rules on how these
powers can be exercised. In particular, the Commissioner has powers to: (a) order the
controller and the processor (and in certain circumstances any other person) to provide

87 Section 137 of the DPA 2018, see recital (17).
88 Section 137 and 138 of the DPA 2018 contain a number of safeguards to ensure the charges are set at an
appropriate level. In particular Section 137(4) lists the matters which the Secretary of State must have
regard to when making regulations which specify the amount different organisations must pay;
Secondly, Section 138(1) and Section 182 of the DPA 2018 also contain a legal requirement for the
Secretary of State to consult with the Information Commissioner and other representatives of persons
likely to be affected by the regulations, before they are made so that their views can be taken into
account. In addition, under Section 138(2) of the DPA 2018, the Information Commissioner is required
to keep the working of the Charges Regulations under review and may submit proposals to the
Secretary of State for amendments to be made to the Regulations. Finally, except where regulations are
made simply to take into account an increase in the retail price index (in which case they will be subject
to the negative resolution procedure), the regulations are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure
and may not be made until they have been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.
89 The management agreement clarified that “The Secretary of State may make payments to the IC out of
money provided by Parliament under Paragraph 9 of Schedule 12 to the DPA 2018. After consultation
with the IC, DCMS will pay to the IC appropriate sums (the grant in aid) for ICO administrative costs
and the exercise of the IC’s functions in relation to a number of specific functions, including freedom of
information” (Management Agreement 2018-2021, paragraph 1.12, see footnote 82).
90 See Section 134 of the DPA 2018.EN 25 EN
necessary information by giving an information notice (“information notice”)91; (b)
carry out investigations and audits by giving an assessment notice, which may require
the controller or processor to permit the Commissioner to enter specified premises,
inspect or examine documents or equipment, interview people processing personal
data on behalf of the controller etc. (“assessment notice”)92; (c) obtain otherwise
access to documents etc. of controllers and processors and access to their premises in
accordance with Section 154 of the DPA 2018 (“powers of entry and inspection”); (d)
exercise corrective powers including by means of warnings and reprimands or give
orders by means of an enforcement notice, which requires controllers/processors to
take or refrain from taking specified steps, including ordering the controller or
processor to do anything specified in Article 58(2)(c)-(g) and (j) of the UK GDPR
(“enforcement notice”)93; (e) and issue administrative fines in the form of a penalty
notice (“penalty notice”)94. The latter can be issued also in case a public authority has
failed to comply with the provisions of the UK GDPR95
.
(93) The ICO’s Regulatory Action Policy sets out the circumstances under which it will
issue an information, assessment, enforcement or penalty notice96. An enforcement
notice given in response to a failure by a controller or processor may only impose
requirements which the Commissioner considers appropriate for the purpose of
remedying the failure. Enforcement and penalty notices may be issued to a controller
or processor in relation to violations of Chapter II of the UK GDPR (principles of
processing), Articles 12 -22 (rights of the data subject), Articles 25-39 (obligations of
controllers and processors) and Articles 44-49 (international transfers) of the UK
GDPR. An enforcement notice may also be given where a controller has failed to
comply with the requirement to pay a charge in regulations made under Section 137 of
the DPA 2018. In addition, a monitoring body under Article 41 or a certification
provider can be given an enforcement notice if they fail to comply with their
obligations under the UK GDPR. A penalty notice can be also given to a person who
has not complied with an information notice, an assessment notice or an enforcement
notice.
(94) The penalty notice requires the person to pay to the Information Commissioner an
amount specified in the notice. In determining whether to give a penalty notice to a
person and determining the amount of the penalty, the Information Commissioner
must have regard to the matters listed in Article 83(1) and (2) of the UK GDPR, which
are identical to the corresponding rules of Regulation (EU) 2016/67997. Under Article

91 Section 142 of the DPA 2018 (subject to the restrictions in Section 143 of the DPA 2018).
92 Section 146 of the DPA 2018 (subject to the restrictions in Section 147of the DPA 2018).
93 Section 149 to 151 of the DPA 2018 (subject to the restrictions in Section 152 of the DPA 2018).
94 Section 155 of the DPA 2018 and Article 83 of the UK GDPR.
95 This follows from Section 155(1) of the DPA 2018 read in conjunction with Section 149(2) and (5) of
the DPA 2018, and from Section 156(4) of the DPA 2018, which restricts the issuance of penalty
notices only with respect to the Crown Estate Commissioners and controllers for the Royal Household
pursuant to Section 209(4) of the DPA 2018.
96 Regulatory Action Policy, available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-theico/documents/2259467/regulatory-action-policy.pdf
97 Including the nature and gravity of the infringement (taking into account the nature scope or purpose of
the processing concerned as well as the number of data subjects affected and the level of damage
suffered by them), the intentional or negligent character of the infringement, any action taken by the
controller to mitigate the damage suffered by data subjects, the degree of responsibility of the controller
or processor (taking into account technical and organisational measures implemented by the controller EN 26 EN
83(4) and (5) the maximum amounts of the administrative fines in case of a failure to
comply with the obligations referred to in those provisions are £8,700,000 or
£17,500,000 respectively. In the case of an undertaking, the Information
Commissioner can also impose fines as a percentage of worldwide annual turnover, if
higher. As in the equivalent provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, these amounts
are set at 2% and 4% in Articles 83(4) and (5) respectively. In case of a failure to
comply with an information notice, an assessment notice or an enforcement notice, the
maximum amount of the penalty that may be imposed by a penalty notice is the higher
of £17,500,000 or, in the case of an undertaking, 4% worldwide annual turnover.
(95) The UK GDPR together with the DPA 2018 have also strengthened other powers of
the Information Commissioner. For example, the Commissioner can now conduct
compulsory audits in relation to all controllers and processors through the use of
assessment notices, whereas under the previous legislation, the Data Protection Act
1998, the Commissioner only had this power in respect of central government and
health organisations, others having to agree to an audit.
(96) Since the introduction of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the ICO handles about 40,000
complaints from data subjects per year98 and, in addition, carries out about 2,000 ex
officio investigations99. A majority of complaints are related to the rights of access to
and disclosure of data. Following her investigations, the Commissioner is taking
enforcement measures across a broad range of sectors. More specifically, according to
the Information Commissioner’s latest annual report (2019-2020)100, the
Commissioner issued 54 information notices, 8 assessment notices, 7 enforcement
notices, 4 cautions, 8 prosecutions and 15 fines during the reporting period101
.

or processor), any relevant previous infringement by the controller or processor; the degree of
cooperation with the Commissioner, the categories of personal data affected by the failure, any other
aggravating or mitigating factor applicable to the circumstances of the case, such as financial benefits
gained, or losses avoided, directly or indirectly, from the infringement
98 According to the information provided by the UK authorities, during the period covered by the
Information Commissioner’s Annual Report 2019-2020, no infringement was found in about 25% of the
cases, in about 29% of the cases the data subject was asked to either raise the concern with the data
controller for the first time, to wait for the controller’s reply or to continue an ongoing dialogue with the
data controller, in about 17% of the cases, no infringement was found but advice was provided to the
data controller, in about 25% of the cases the Information Commissioner found an infringement and
either provided advice to the data controller or the data controller was required to take certain actions, in
about 3% of the cases it was determined that the complaint did not fall under Regulation (EU)
2016/679, and about 1% of the cases were referred to another data protection authority in the framework
of the European Data Protection Board.
99 The ICO can initiate those investigations based on information received from a variety of sources,
including personal data breach notifications, referrals from other United Kingdom public authorities or
foreign data protection authorities, and complaints from individuals or civil society organisations.
100 Information Commissioner’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019-2020 (see footnote 81).
101 According to the previous annual report covering the period 2018-2019, the Information Commissioner
issued 22 penalty notices under the DPA 1998 during the reporting period, with fines totalling
£3,010,610, including two fines of £500,000 (the maximum permitted under the DPA 1998). In 2018,
the Information Commissioner notably conducted an investigation into the use of data analytics for
political purposes following the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The investigation resulted in a policy
report, a set of recommendations, a £500,000 fine against Facebook and an enforcement notice to
Aggregate IQ, a Canadian data broker, ordering the company to delete personal data it held about
United Kingdom citizens and residents (See the Information Commissioner’s Annual Report and
Financial Statement 2018-2019 available at the following link https://ico.org.uk/media/about-theico/documents/2615262/annual-report-201819.pdf)EN 27 EN
(97) This includes several significant monetary penalties imposed under Regulation (EU)
2016/679 and the DPA 2018. In particular, the Information Commissioner in October
2020 fined a British airline company £20 million for a data breach affecting more than
400,000 customers. At the end of October 2020, an international hotel chain was fined
£18.4 million for failing to keep millions of customers’ personal data secure and in
November 2020 a British service provider selling event tickets online was fined £1.25
million for failing to protect customers’ payment details102
.
(98) In addition to the enforcement powers of the Information Commissioner described in
recital (92), certain violations of the data protection legislation constitute offences and
may therefore be subject to criminal sanctions (Section 196 of the DPA 2018). This
applies, for example, to knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data
without the consent of the controller, procuring the disclosure of personal data to
another person without the consent of the controller103, re-identifying information that
is de-identified personal data without the consent of the controller responsible for deidentifying the personal data104, intentionally obstructing the Commissioner’s power to
exercise her powers in relation to the inspection of personal data in accordance with
international obligations105, making false statements in response to an information
notice, or destroying information in connection to information and assessment
notices106
.
2.6.3 Oversight over the judiciary
(99) Oversight of the processing of personal data by the courts and judiciary is twofold.
Where a judicial office holder or a court is not acting in a judicial capacity, oversight
is provided by the ICO. Where the controller is operating in a judicial capacity, the
ICO cannot exercise its oversight functions107 and the oversight is carried out by
special bodies. This reflects the approach taken in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (Article
55(3)).
(100) In particular, in the second scenario, for the courts of England and Wales and the Firsttier and Upper Tribunals of England and Wales, such oversight is provided by the
Judicial Data Protection Panel108. Additionally, the Lord Chief Justice and Senior

102 For a summary of enforcement actions taken, see the ICO website, available at the following link:
https://ico.org.uk/action-weve-taken/enforcement/
103 Section 170 of the DPA 2018.
104 Section 171 of the DPA 2018.
105 Section 119 of the DPA 2018.
106 Sections 144 and 148 of the DPA 2018.
107 Section 117 of the DPA 2018.
108 The Panel is responsible for providing guidance and training to the judiciary. It also deals with
complaints from data subjects in respect of the processing of personal data by courts, tribunals and
individuals acting in a judicial capacity. The Panel aims to provide the means through which any
complaint could be resolved. If a complainant was unhappy with a decision of the Panel, and they
provided additional evidence, the Panel could reconsider its decision. While the Panel itself does not
impose financial sanctions, if the Panel considers that there is a sufficiently serious breach of the DPA
2018, it may refer it to the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office (JCIO), which will investigate the
complaint. If the complaint is upheld, it is a matter for the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice (or a
senior judge delegated to act on his behalf) to decide what action should be taken against the office
holder. This could include, in order of severity: formal advice, formal warning, and reprimand and,
ultimately, removal from office. If an individual is dissatisfied with the way the complaint has been
investigated by the JCIO, they can further complain to the Judicial Appointments and Conduct
Ombudsman (see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/judicial-appointments-and-conduct-EN 28 EN
President of Tribunals have issued a Privacy Notice109 which sets out how the courts in
England and Wales process personal data for a judicial function. A similar notice has
been issued by the Northern Irish110 and Scottish judiciaries111
.
(101) Moreover, in Northern Ireland, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland has
appointed a High Court judge as Data Supervisory Judge (DSJ)112. They have also
issued guidance to the Northern Irish Judiciary on what to do in the event of a loss or
potential loss of data and the process for dealing with any issues arising from this113
.
(102) In Scotland, the Lord President has appointed a Data Supervisory Judge to investigate
any complaints on grounds of data protection. This is set out under the judicial
complaints rules which mirror those established for England and Wales114
.
(103) Finally, in the Supreme Court, one of the Supreme Court Justices is nominated to
oversee data protection.
2.6.4 Redress
(104) In order to ensure adequate protection and in particular the enforcement of individual
rights, the data subject should be provided with effective administrative and judicial
redress, including compensation for damages.
(105) First, a data subject has the right to lodge a complaint with the Information
Commissioner, if the data subject considers that, in connection with personal data
relating to him or her, there is an infringement of the UK GDPR115. The UK GDPR
retains the rules in Article 77 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on that right without
material modifications. The same applies to Article 57(1)(f) and (2) that set out the
tasks of the Commissioner in relation to the handling of complaints. As described in
recitals (92) to (98) above, the Information Commissioner has the power to assess the
compliance of the controller and processor with the UK GDPR and DPA 2018, require

ombudsman). The Ombudsman has the power to ask the JCIO to reinvestigate a complaint and can
propose that the complainant be paid compensation where it believes that they have suffered damage as
a result of maladministration.
109 The privacy notice from the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals is available at the
following link: https://www.judiciary.uk/about-the-judiciary/judiciary-and-data-protection-privacynotice
110 The privacy notice issued by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is available at the following
link: https://judiciaryni.uk/data-privacy
111 The Privacy Notice for Scottish Courts and Tribunals is available at the following link:

Judiciary and Data Protection: Privacy Notice


112 The DSJ provides guidance to the judiciary and investigates breaches and/or complaints in respect of
the processing of personal data by courts or individuals acting in a judicial capacity.
113 Where the complaint or breach is deemed to be serious it is referred to the Judicial Complaints Officer
for further investigation in accordance with the Lord Chief Justice in Northern Ireland’s Code of
Practice on Complaints. The outcome of such a complaint could include: no further action, advice,
training or mentoring, informal warning, formal warning, final warning, restriction of practice or
referral to a statutory tribunal. The Code of Practice on Complaints issued by the Lord Chief Justice in
Northern Ireland is available at the following link:https://judiciaryni.uk/sites/judiciary/files/mediafiles/14G.%20CODE%20OF%20PRACTICE%20Judicial%20~%2028%20Feb%2013%20%28Final%2
9%20updated%20with%20new%20comp..__1.pdf
114 Any complaint which is founded is investigated by the Data Supervisory Judge and referred to the Lord
President who has the power to issue advice, a formal warning or a reprimand should he deem to be
necessary (Equivalent rules exist for tribunal members and are available at the following link:
https://www.judiciary.scot/docs/librariesprovider3/judiciarydocuments/complaints/complaintsaboutthej
udiciaryscotlandrules2017_1d392ab6e14f6425aa0c7f48d062f5cc5.pdf?sfvrsn=5d3eb9a1_2)
115 Article 77 of the UK GDPR.EN 29 EN
them to take or refrain from taking necessary steps in case of non-compliance and to
impose fines.
(106) Second, the UK GDPR and DPA 2018 provide the right to a remedy against the
Information Commissioner. Pursuant to Article 78(1) of the UK GDPR, an individual
has a right to an effective judicial remedy against a legally binding decision of the
Commissioner concerning them. In the context of the judicial review, the judge
examines the decision being challenged in the claim, and considers whether the
Information Commissioner has acted lawfully. Moreover, pursuant to Article 78(2) of
the UK GDPR, if the Commissioner fails to appropriately handle a complaint made by
the data subject,116 the complainant has access to judicial remedy. It can apply to a
First Tier Tribunal to order the Commissioner to take appropriate steps to respond to
the complaint, or to inform the complainant of progress on the complaint117. In
addition, any person who is served one of the abovementioned notices (information,
assessment, enforcement or penalty notice) by the Commissioner may appeal to a First
Tier Tribunal118. If the Tribunal considers that the decision of the Commissioner is not
in accordance with the law or the Information Commissioner should have exercised
her discretion differently, the Tribunal must allow the appeal, or substitute another
notice or decision which the Information Commissioner could have given or made.
(107) Third, individuals can obtain judicial redress against controllers and processors
directly before the courts under Article 79 of the UK GDPR and Section 167 of the
DPA 2018. If, on an application by a data subject, a court is satisfied that there has
been an infringement of the data subject’s rights under the data protection legislation,
the court may order the controller in respect of the processing, or a processor acting on
behalf of that controller, to take steps specified in the order or to refrain from taking
steps specified in the order.
(108) Moreover, under Article 82 of the UK GDPR and Section 168 of the DPA 2018, any
person who has suffered material or non-material damage as a result of an
infringement of the UK GDPR has the right to receive compensation from the
controller or processor for the damage suffered. The rules on the compensation and
liability in Article 82(1) – (5) of the UK GDPR are identical with the corresponding
rules in Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Under Section 168 of the DPA 2018, non-material
damage includes also distress. Under Article 80 of the UK GDPR the data subject has
also a right to mandate a representative body or organisation to lodge the complaint
with the Commissioner on his or her behalf (under Article 77 of the UK GDPR) and to
exercise the rights referred to in Articles 78 (right to an effective judicial remedy
against the Commissioner), 79 (right to an effective judicial remedy against a
controller or processor) and 82 (right to compensation and liability) of the UK GDPR
on his or her behalf.
(109) Fourth, and in addition to the avenues for redress described above, any person that
considers that his or her rights, including rights to privacy and data protection, have

116 Section 166 of the DPA 2018 refers specifically to the following situations: (a) the Commissioner fails
to take appropriate steps to respond to the complaint, (b) the Commissioner fails to provide the
complainant with information about progress on the complaint, or of the outcome of the complaint,
before the end of the period of 3 months beginning when the Commissioner received the complaint, or
(c) if the Commissioner’s consideration of the complaint is not concluded during that period, fails to
provide the complainant with such information during a subsequent period of 3 months.
117 Article 78(2) of the UK GDPR and Section 166 of the DPA 2018.
118 Article 78(1) of the UK GDPR and Section 162 of the DPA 2018.EN 30 EN
been violated by public authorities, can obtain redress before the UK courts under the
Human Rights Act 1998119. An individual who claims that a public authority has acted
(or proposes to act) in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right, and
consequently unlawful under Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998, can bring
proceedings against the authority in the appropriate court or tribunal, or rely on the
rights concerned in any legal proceedings, when he or she is (or would be) a victim of
the unlawful act.
(110) If the court finds any act of a public authority to be unlawful, it can grant such relief or
remedy, or make such order, within its powers as it considers just and appropriate120
.
The court can also declare a provision of primary legislation to be incompatible with a
Convention right.
(111) Finally, after exhausting national remedies, an individual can obtain redress before the
European Court of Human Rights for violations of the rights guaranteed under the
European Convention of Human Rights.
3. ACCESS AND USE OF PERSONAL DATA TRANSFERRED FROM THE
EUROPEAN UNION BY PUBLIC AUTHORITIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
(112) The Commission also assessed the United Kingdom’s legal framework for the
collection and subsequent use of personal data transferred to business operators in the
United Kingdom by United Kingdom public authorities in the public interest, in
particular for criminal law enforcement and national security purposes (hereinafter
referred to as “government access”). In assessing whether the conditions under which
government access to data transferred to the UK under this Decision would fulfil the
“essential equivalence” test pursuant to Article 45(1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, as
interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union in light of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights, the Commission took into account in particular the following
criteria.
(113) First, any limitation to the right to the protection of personal data must be provided for
by law and the legal basis which permits the interference with such a right must itself
define the scope of the limitation on the exercise of the right concerned121
.
(114) Second, in order to satisfy the requirement of proportionality, according to which
derogations from and limitations to the protection of personal data must apply only in
so far as is strictly necessary in a democratic society to meet specific objectives of
general interest equivalent to those recognized by the Union, the legislation of the
third country in question which permits the interference must lay down clear and
precise rules governing the scope and application of the measures in question and
impose minimum safeguards so that the persons whose data has been transferred have
sufficient guarantees to protect effectively their personal data against the risk of

119 Section 7(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998. According to Section 7(7) a person is a victim of an
unlawful act only if he would be a victim for the purposes of Article 34 of the European Convention of
Human Rights if proceedings were brought in the European Court of Human Rights in respect of that
act.
120 Section 8(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.
121 See Schrems II, paragraphs 174-175 and the case-law cited. See also, as regards access by public
authorities of Member States, Case C-623/17 Privacy International ECLI:EU:C:2020:790, paragraph
65; and Case Joined Cases C-511/18, C-512/18 and C-520/18 La Quadrature du Net and Others
ECLI:EU:C:2020:791, paragraph 175.EN 31 EN
abuse122
. The legislation must, in particular, indicate in what circumstances and under
which conditions a measure providing for the processing of such data may be
adopted123 as well as subject the fulfilment of such requirements to independent
oversight124
.
(115) Third, that legislation must be legally binding under domestic law and these legal
requirements must not only be binding on the authorities, but also enforceable before
courts against the authorities of the third country in question125. In particular, data
subjects must have the possibility of bringing legal action before an independent and
impartial court in order to have access to their personal data, or to obtain the
rectification or erasure of such data126
.
3.1 General legal framework
(116) As an exercise of power by a public authority, government access in the United
Kingdom must be carried out in full respect of the law. The United Kingdom has
ratified the European Convention of Human Rights (see recital (9)) and all public
authorities in the United Kingdom are required to act in compliance with the
Convention127. Article 8 of the Convention provides that any interference with privacy
must be in accordance with the law, in the interests of one of the aims set out in
Article 8(2), and proportionate in light of that aim. Article 8 also requires that the
interference is “foreseeable”, i.e. have a clear, accessible basis in law, and that the law
contains appropriate safeguards to prevent abuse.
(117) In addition, in its case law, the European Court of Human Rights has specified that
any interference with the right to privacy and data protection should be subject to an
effective, independent and impartial oversight system that must be provided for either
by a judge or by another independent body128 (e.g. an administrative authority or a
parliamentary body).
(118) Moreover, individuals must be provided with an effective remedy, and the European
Court of Human Rights has clarified that the remedy must be offered by an
independent and impartial body which has adopted its own rules of procedure,
consisting of members that must hold or have held high judicial office or be
experienced lawyers, and that there must be no evidential burden to be overcome in
order to lodge an application with it. In undertaking its examination of complaints by
individuals, the independent and impartial body should have access to all relevant

122 See Schrems II, paragraphs 176 and 181, as well as the case-law cited. See also, as regards access by
public authorities of Member States, Privacy International, paragraph 68; and La Quadrature du Net
and Others, paragraph 132.
123 See Schrems II, paragraph 176. See also, as regards access by public authorities of Member States,
Privacy International, paragraph 68; and La Quadrature du Net and Others, paragraph 132.
124 See Schrems II, paragraph 179.
125 See Schrems II, paragraphs 181-182.
126 See Schrems I, paragraph 95 and Schrems II, paragraph 194. In that respect, the CJEU has notably
stressed that compliance with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, guaranteeing the right to
an effective remedy before an independent and impartial tribunal, “contributes to the required level of
protection in the European Union [and] must be determined by the Commission before it adopts an
adequacy decision pursuant to Article 45(1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679” (Schrems II, paragraph 186).
127 Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
128 European Court of Human Rights, Klass and others v. Germany, Application no. 5029/71, paragraphs
17-51.EN 32 EN
information, including closed materials. Finally, it should have the powers to remedy
non-compliance129
.
(119) The United Kingdom also ratified the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection
of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention
108), and signed the Protocol amending the Convention for the Protection of
Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (known as
Convention 108+) in 2018130
. Article 9 of Convention 108 provides that derogations
from the general data protection principles (Article 5 Quality of data), the rules
governing special categories of data (Article 6 Special categories of data) and data
subject rights (Article 8 Additional safeguards to the data subject) are only permissible
when such derogation is provided for by the law of the Party and constitutes a
necessary measure in a democratic society in the interests of protecting State security,
public safety, the monetary interests of the State or the suppression of criminal
offences, or for protecting the data subject or the rights and freedoms of others131
.
(120) Therefore, through membership of the Council of Europe, adherence to the European
Convention of Human Rights and submission to the jurisdiction of the European Court
of Human Rights, the United Kingdom is subject to a number of obligations, enshrined
in international law, that frame its system of government access on the basis of
principles, safeguards and individual rights similar to those guaranteed under EU law
and applicable to the Member States. As stressed in recital (19), continued adherence
to such instruments is therefore a particularly important element of the assessment on
which this Decision is based.
(121) Further, specific data protection safeguards and rights are guaranteed by the DPA 2018
when data is processed by public authorities, including by law enforcement and
national security bodies.
(122) In particular, the regime for the processing of personal data in the context of criminal
law enforcement is set out in Part 3 of the DPA 2018, which was enacted to transpose
Directive (EU) 2016/680. Part 3 of the DPA 2018 applies to the processing of personal
data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation,
detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties,
including the safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to public security132
.
(123) The concept of “competent authority” is defined in Section 30 of the DPA as a person
listed in Schedule 7 to the DPA 2018 as well as any other person to the extent that the
person has statutory functions for any of the law enforcement purposes133. As

129 European Court of Human Rights, Kennedy v. the United Kingdom, Application no. 26839/05,
(“Kennedy”), paragraphs 167 and 190.
130 For more information on the European Convention of Human Rights and its incorporation into United
Kingdom law through the Human Rights Act 1998 as well as on Convention 108, see recital (9).
131 Similarly, pursuant to Article 11 of Convention 108+, restrictions to certain specific rights and
obligations of the Convention for purposes of national security or the prevention, investigation and
prosecution of criminal offences and the execution of criminal penalties are only permissible when such
a restriction is provided for by law, respects the essence of the fundamental rights and freedoms, and
constitutes a necessary and proportionate measure in a democratic society. Processing activities for
national security and defence purposes must also be subject to independent and effective review and
supervision under the domestic legislation of the respective Party to the Convention
132 Section 31 of the DPA 2018.
133 Competent authorities listed in Schedule 7 include not only police forces, but also all UK ministerial
government departments as well as other authorities with investigatory functions (e.g. the EN 33 EN
explained below (see recital (139)), certain competent authorities (for example the
National Crime Agency) may make use, under certain conditions, of the powers
provided by the Investigatory Power Act 2016 (IPA 2016). In this case, the safeguards
provided by the IPA 2016 will apply in addition to those provided by Part 3 of the
DPA 2018. The intelligence services (Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service and
the Government Communications Headquarters) are not “competent authorities”134
falling under Part 3 of the DPA 2018 and, therefore, the rules provided therein do not
apply to any of their activities. A specific Part of the DPA 2018 (Part 4) is dedicated to
the processing of personal data by intelligence services (for more details see recital
(125)).
(124) Similarly to Directive (EU) 2016/680, Part 3 of the DPA 2018 sets out the principles
of lawfulness and fairness135, purpose limitation136, data minimisation137, accuracy138
,
storage limitation139 and security140. The legislation imposes specific transparency
obligations141 and provides individuals with a right of access142, rectification and
deletion143 and the right not to be subject to automated decision-making144. The
competent authorities are also required to implement data protection by design and
default, to keep records of processing activities, and, for certain processing operations,
to carry out data protection impact assessments and to pre-consult the Information
Commissioner145. Pursuant to Section 56 of the DPA 2018, they are required to
demonstrate compliance. Moreover, they are required to put in place appropriate
measures to ensure security of processing146 and are subject to specific obligations in
case of a data breach, including notification of such breaches to the Information
Commissioner and data subjects147. As is the case in Directive (EU) 2016/680, there is
also a requirement for a controller (unless it is a court or other judicial authority acting
in a judicial capacity) to designate a data protection officer (DPO)148 which assists the
controller in complying with its obligations as well as monitoring that compliance149
.
Furthermore, the legislation imposes specific requirements for international transfers
of personal data for law enforcement purposes to third countries or international

Commissioner for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the National Crime Agency, the Welsh
Revenue Authority, the Competition and Markets Authority or Her Majesty’s Land Register),
prosecutorial agencies, other criminal justice agencies and other holders or organisations who carry out
law enforcement activities (among those, Schedule 7 of the DPA 2018 lists the Directors of Public
Prosecutors, the Director of Public Prosecutors for Northern Ireland or the Information Commission).
134 Section 30(2) of the DPA 2018.
135 Section 35 of the DPA 2018.
136 Section 36 of the DPA 2018.
137 Section 37 of the DPA 2018.
138 Section 38 of the DPA 2018.
139 Section 39 of the DPA 2018.
140 Section 40 of the DPA 2018.
141 Section 44 of the DPA 2018.
142 Section 45 of the DPA 2018.
143 Section 46 and 47 of the DPA 2018.
144 Section 49 and 50 of the DPA 2018.
145 Sections 56-65 of the DPA 2018.
146 Section 66 of the DPA 2018.
147 Section 67-68 of the DPA 2018.
148 Sections 69–71 of the DPA 2018.
149 Section 67-68 of the DPA 2018.EN 34 EN
organisations to ensure continuity of protection150. At the same date as this Decision,
the Commission has adopted an adequacy decision on the basis of Article 36(3) of
Directive (EU) 2016/680, finding that the data protection regime applicable to
processing by United Kingdom criminal law enforcement authorities ensures a level of
protection essentially equivalent to the one guaranteed by Directive (EU) 2016/680.
(125) Part 4 of the DPA 2018 applies to all processing by or on behalf of the intelligence
services. In particular, it sets out the main data protection principles (lawfulness,
fairness and transparency151; purpose limitation152; data minimisation153; accuracy154;
storage limitation155 and security156), imposes conditions on the processing of special
categories of data157, provides for data subject rights158, requires data protection by
design159 and regulates international transfers of personal data160. The ICO has
recently issued detailed guidance on the processing by intelligence agencies under Part
4 of the DPA 2018161
.

150 Chapter 5 of Part 3 of the DPA 2018.
151 Under Section 86(6) of the DPA 2018, to determine fairness and transparency of the processing, the
method by which it is obtained must be regarded. In this sense, the fairness and transparency
requirement is accomplished if data is obtained from a person who is lawfully authorised or required to
supply it.
152 Under Section 87 of the DPA 2018, the purposes of the processing must be specified, explicit and
legitimate. The data must not be processed in a manner that is incompatible with the purposes for which
it is collected. Under Section 87(3) of the DPA 2018, further compatible processing of personal data can
be only allowed if the controller is authorised by law to process the data for that purpose and the
processing is necessary and proportionate to that other purpose. The processing should be regarded as
compatible, if the processing consists of processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, for
purposes of scientific or historical research or for statistical purposes, and is subject to appropriate
safeguards (Section 87(4) of the DPA 2018).
153 Personal data must be adequate, relevant and not excessive (Section 88 of the DPA 2018).
154 Personal data must be accurate and up to date (Section 89 of the DPA 2018).
155 Personal data must not be kept longer than is necessary (Section 90 of the DPA 2018).
156 The sixth data protection principle is that personal data must be processed in a manner that includes
taking appropriate security measures as regards risks that arise from processing personal data. The risks
include (but are not limited to) accidental or unauthorised access to, or destruction, loss, use,
modification or disclosure of, personal data (Section 91 of the DPA 2018). Section 107 also requires
that (1) each controller must implement appropriate security measures appropriate to the risks arising
from the processing of personal data and (2) in the case of automated processing, each controller and
each processor implement preventative or mitigative measures based on an evaluation of risk.
157 Section 86(2)(b) and Schedule 10 to the DPA 2018.
158 Chapter 3 of Part 4 of the DPA 2018, notably the rights: of access, of rectification and deletion, to
object to the processing and not to be subject to automated decision making, to intervene in automated
decision-making and to be informed about the decision-making. Moreover, the controller must give the
data subject information about the processing of their personal data. As explained in the ICO guidance
on the processing by intelligence services, individuals can exercise all their rights (including a request
for rectification) by making a complaint to the ICO or taking matters to court (see ICO Guidance to
intelligence services processing, available at the following link https://ico.org.uk/fororganisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-intelligence-services-processing/).
159 Section 103 of the DPA 2018.
160 Section 109 of the DPA 2018. Transfers of personal data to international organisations or countries
outside of the United Kingdom are possible if the transfer is a necessary and proportionate measure
carried out for the purposes of the controller’s statutory functions, or for other purposes provided for in
specific Sections of the Security Service Act 1989 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994.
161 ICO Guidance, see footnote 158.
Section 30 of the DPA 2018 and Schedule 7 to the DPA 2018.EN 35 EN
(126) At the same time, Section 110 of the DPA 2018 provides for an exemption from
specified provisions in Part 4 of the DPA 2018162 when such exemption is required to
safeguard national security. This exemption can be relied upon on the basis of a caseby-case analysis163. As explained by the United Kingdom authorities and confirmed by
the case law, a “controller must consider the actual consequences to national security
or defence if they had to comply with the particular data protection provision, and if
they could reasonably comply with the usual rule without affecting national security or
defence”164. Whether or not the exemption has been used appropriately is subject to
the oversight of the ICO165
.
(127) Moreover, in relation to the possibility to restrict for the protection of “national
security” the application of the above specified provisions, according to Section 111 of
the DPA 2018, a controller may apply for a certificate signed by a Cabinet Minister or
the Attorney General certifying that a restriction of such rights is a necessary and
proportionate measure to the protection of national security166
.
(128) The United Kingdom government has issued guidance to assist controllers when
considering whether to apply for a national security certificate under the DPA 2018
that notably highlights that any limitation to data subjects’ rights for safeguarding
national security must be proportionate and necessary167. All national security
certificates must be published on the ICO’s website168
.

162 Section 110(2) of the DPA 2018 lists the provisions from which an exemption is allowed. It includes the
data protection principles (except the principle of lawfulness), the data subject rights, the obligation to
inform the Information Commissioner about a data breach, the Information Commissioner’s powers of
inspection in accordance with international obligations, certain of the Information Commissioner’s
enforcement powers, the provisions that make certain data protection violations a criminal offence, and
the provisions relating to special purposes of processing, such as journalistic, academic or artistic
purposes.
163 See Baker v Secretary of State, see footnote 61.
164 The UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H: National Security Data
Protection and Investigatory Powers Framework, pages 15-16 (see footnote 31). See also Baker v
Secretary of State (see footnote 61), in which the court quashed a national security certificate issued by
the Home Secretary and confirming the application of the national security exception, considering that
there was no reason to provide for a blanket exception on the obligation to answer access requests and
that allowing such exception in all circumstances without a case-by-case analysis exceeded what was
necessary and proportionate for the protection of national security.
165 See MoU between ICO and UKIC according to which “Upon the ICO receiving a complaint from a data
subject, the ICO will want to satisfy themselves that the issue has been handled correctly, and, where
applicable, that the application of any exemption has been used appropriately”. Memorandum of
Understandings between Information Commission’s Office and the UK Intelligence Community,
paragraph 16, available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/mou/2617438/ukintelligence-community-ico-mou.pdf
166 The DPA 2018 has repealed the possibility to issue certificates under Section 28(2) of the Data
Protection Act 1998. However, the possibility to issue “old certificates” still exists to the extent that
there is an historic challenge under the 1998 Act (see paragraph 17 of Part 5 of Schedule 20 of the DPA
2018). However, this possibility seems very rare and will apply only in limited cases, such as, for
example, where a data subject brings a challenge on the use of the national security exemption in
relation to a processing by a public authority that has carried out its processing under the 1998 Act. It is
to be noted that in these cases, Section 28 of the DPA 1998 will apply in its entirety, including therefore
the possibility for the data subject to challenge the certificate before the Court.
167 UK Government Guidance on National Security Certificates under the Data Protection Act 2018,
available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/91027
9/Data_Protection_Act_2018_-_National_Security_Certificates_Guidance.pdf According to the EN 36 EN
(129) The certificate should be for a fixed duration of no more than five years, so to be
regularly reviewed by the Executive169. A certificate shall identify the personal data or
categories of personal data subject to the exemption as well the provisions of the DPA
2018 to which the exemption applies170
.
(130) It is important to note that the national security certificates do not provide for an
additional ground for restricting data protection rights for national security reasons. In
other words, the controller or processor can only rely on a certificate when it has
concluded it is necessary to rely on the national security exemption which, as
explained above, must be applied on a case-by-case basis171. Even if a national
security certificate applies to the matter in question, the ICO can investigate whether
or not reliance on the national security exemption was justified in a specific case172
.
(131) Any person directly affected by the issuing of the certificate may appeal to the Upper
Tribunal173 against the certificate174 or, where the certificate identifies data by means
of a general description, challenge the application of the certificate to specific data175
.
The tribunal will review the decision to issue a certificate and decide whether there
were reasonable grounds for issuing the certificate176. It can consider a wide range of
issues, including necessity, proportionality and lawfulness, having regard to the impact
on the rights of data subjects and balancing the need to safeguard national security. As
a result, the tribunal may determine that the certificate does not apply to specific
personal data which is the subject of the appeal177
.

explanation provided by the UK authorities, while a certificate is conclusive proof that, in respect to
data or processing described in the certificate, the exemption is applicable, it does not remove the
requirement for the controller to consider whether there is a need to rely on the exemption on a case-bycase basis.
168 According to section 130 of the DPA 2018, the ICO may decide not to publish the text or part of the
text of the certificate, if it would be against the interest of national security or would be contrary to the
public interest or might jeopardise the safety of any person. In this cases the ICO will however publish
the fact that the certificate has been issued.
169 UK Government Guidance on National Security Certificates, paragraph 15, see footnote 167.
170 UK Government Guidance on National Security Certificates, paragraph 5, see footnote 167.
171 See footnote 164.
172 Section 102 of the DPA 2018 requires the controller to be in a position to demonstrate that it has
complied with the DPA 2018. This implies that an intelligence service would need to demonstrate to the
ICO that when relying on the exemption, it has considered the specific circumstances of the case. The
ICO also publishes a record of the national security certificates, which is available at the following link:
is available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-information/national-securitycertificates/
173 The Upper Tribunal is the court competent to hear appeals against decisions made by lower
administrative tribunals and has specific competence for direct appeals against decisions of certain
government bodies.
174 Section 111(3) of the DPA 2018.
175 Section 111(5) of the DPA 2018.
176 In Baker v Secretary of State (see footnote 61), the Information Tribunal quashed a national security
certificate issued by the Home Secretary, considering that there was no reason to provide for a blanket
exception on the obligation to answer access requests and that allowing such exception in every
circumstances without a case-by-case analysis exceeded what was necessary and proportionate for the
protection of national security.
177 UK Government Guidance on National Security Certificates, paragraph 25, see footnote 167.EN 37 EN
(132) A different set of possible restrictions concern those applying, under Schedule 11 of
the DPA 2018, to certain provisions of Part 4 of the DPA 2018178 to safeguard other
important objectives of general public interest or protected interests such as, for
example, parliamentary privilege, legal professional privilege, the conduct of judicial
proceedings or the combat effectiveness of the armed forces179. The application of
these provisions is either exempted for certain categories of information (“class
based”), or exempted to the extent that the application of these provisions would be
likely to prejudice the protected interest (“prejudice based”)180. Prejudice-based
exemptions can only be invoked as far as the application of the listed data protection
provision would be likely to prejudice the specific interest in question. The use of an
exemption must therefore always be justified by referring to the relevant prejudice that
would be likely to occur in the individual case. Class-based exemptions can be
invoked only with respect to the specific, narrowly defined category of information for
which the exemption is granted. These are similar in purpose and effect to several of
the exceptions to the UK GDPR (under Schedule 2 of the DPA 2018) which, in turn,
reflect those provided in Article 23 GDPR.
(133) It follows from the above that limitations and conditions are in place under the
applicable UK legal provisions, as also interpreted by the courts and the Information
Commission, to ensure that these exemptions and restrictions remain within the
boundaries of what is necessary and proportionate to protect national security.
3.2 Access and use by United Kingdom public authorities for criminal law
enforcement purposes
(134) The law of the United Kingdom imposes a number of limitations on the access and use
of personal data for criminal law enforcement purposes, and provides oversight and
redress mechanisms in this area which are in line with the requirements referred to in
recitals (113) to (115) of the present decision. The conditions under which such access

178 This includes: (i) the Part 4 data protection principles, except for the lawfulness of processing
requirement under the first principle and the fact that the processing must meet one of the relevant
conditions set out in Schedules 9 and 10; (ii) the rights of data subjects; and (iii) the duties relating to
reporting breaches to the ICO.
179 Part 4 of the DPA 2018 provides for the legal framework that applies to all types of processing of
personal data carried out by intelligence agencies (and not only to the exercise of their national security
tasks). Therefore, Part 4 applies also when intelligence agencies process data for example for purposes
of human resources management, in the context of litigation or in the context of public procurement.
The restrictions listed in Schedule 11 are mainly meant to apply in these other contexts. For example, in
the context of litigation with an employee, the restriction for purposes of “legal proceedings” may be
invoked, or in the context of public procurement, the restriction for “negotiation” purposes may be
invoked, etc. This is reflected in the ICO guidance on intelligence services processing, which mentions
the negotiation of a settlement between an intelligence agency and a former employee who is pursuing
an employment claim as an example for the application of Schedule 11 restrictions (see footnote 161). It
should also be noted that the same restrictions are available to other public authorities pursuant to
Schedule 2 to Part 2 of the DPA 2018.
180 According to the UK Explanatory Framework the exceptions that are “class based” are: (i) information
about the conferring of Crown honours and dignities; (ii) legal professional privilege; (iii) confidential
employment, training or education references; and (iv) exam scripts and marks. The “prejudice based”
exceptions concern the following matters: (i) prevention or detection of crime; apprehension and
prosecution of offenders; (ii) parliamentary privilege; (iii) judicial proceedings; (iv) the combat
effectiveness of the armed forces of the Crown; (v) the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(vi) negotiations with the data subject; (vii) scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes; (viii)
archiving in the public interest. The UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H:
National Security, page 13, see footnote 31.EN 38 EN
can take place and the safeguards applicable to the use of these powers are assessed in
detail in the following sections.
3.2.1 Legal bases and applicable limitations/safeguards
(135) Pursuant to the principle of lawfulness guaranteed under Section 35 of the DPA 2018,
the processing of personal data for any of the law enforcement purposes is lawful only
if it is based on law and either the data subject has given consent to the processing for
that purpose181 or the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out
for that purpose by a competent authority.
3.2.1.1 Search warrants and production orders
(136) In the United Kingdom legal framework, the collection of personal data from business
operators, including those that would be processing data transferred from the EU
under the present adequacy decision, for purposes of criminal law enforcement is
permissible on the basis of search warrants182 and production orders183
.
(137) Search warrants are issued by a court, usually on the application of the investigating
officer. They permit an officer to enter premises to search for material or individuals
relevant to their investigation and retain anything for which a search has been
authorised, including any relevant documents or material containing personal data184
.
A production order, which also needs to be issued by a court, requires the person
specified in it to produce or give access to material they are in possession or control
of. The applicant must justify to the court why the warrant or order is necessary, as
well as why it is in the public interest. There are several statutory powers that permit
the issuance of search warrants and production orders. Each provision has its own set

181 The use of consent does not appear relevant in an adequacy scenario as in a transfer situation the data
will not have been directly collected from an EU data subject by a United Kingdom law enforcement
authority on the basis of consent.
182 For the relevant legal basis, See Sections 8 et seq. of PACE 1984 (for England and Wales), Sections 10
et seq, of the Police and Criminal Evidence Order (Northern Ireland) 1989 and for Scotland it is
obtained under common law (see Section 46 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016) and Section
23B of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland). For a search warrant issued after the arrest the
legal basis is section 18 of PACE 1984 (for England and Wales), Sections 20 et seq., of the Police and
Criminal Evidence Order (Northern Ireland) 1989 and for Scotland it is obtained under common law
(see Section 46 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016). UK authorities clarified that search
warrants are issued by a court, on the application of the investigating officer. They permit an officer to
enter premises to search for material or individuals relevant to their investigation; the execution of the
warrant will often require the assistance of a police constable.
183 When the investigation concerns money laundering (including confiscation and civil recovery
proceedings), the relevant legal basis for applying for a production order are Sections 345 et seq. for
England, Wales and Northern Ireland and sect 380 et seq. of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for Scotland.
When the investigation concerns other issues than money laundering, an application for a production
order can be made under Section 9 and Schedule 1 to the PACE 1984 for England and Wales, and
Section 10 et seq. of the Police and Criminal Evidence Order (Northern Ireland) 1989 for Northern
Ireland. For Scotland it is obtained under common law (see Section 46 of the Criminal Justice
(Scotland) Act 2016) and Section 23B of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland). UK authorities
clarified that a production order requires the person specified in it to produce or to give access to the
material they are in possession or control of (see para 4 of Schedule 1 to the PACE 1984).
184 For instance, the PACE 1984 contains powers in Sections 8 and 18 to seize and retain anything for
which a search has been authorised.EN 39 EN
of statutory conditions which must be satisfied for a warrant185 or a production order186
to be issued.

185 For example, Section 8 and Section 18 of PACE regulate respectively the power of a justice of the
peace to authorise a warrant and of a police officer to search a property. In the first case (Section 8),
before issuing a warrant a justice of the peace must first be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds
for believing that: (i) an indictable offence has been committed; (ii) there is material on the premises
which is likely to be of substantial value (whether by itself or together with other material) to the
investigation of the offence; (iii) the material is likely to be relevant evidence; (iv) it does not consist of
or include items subject to legal privilege, excluded material or special procedure material; and (v) it
wouldn’t be possible to obtain entry without the use of a warrant. In the second case, Section 18 allows
a police officer to search the premises of a person arrested for an indictable offence for material other
than material subject to legal privilege if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is
evidence on the premises that relate to that offence or another similar or connected indictable offence.
Such a search must be limited to uncovering that material and must be authorised, in writing, by a
police officer of at least the rank of inspector unless it is necessary for the investigation of the offence.
In which case, an officer of the rank of at least inspector must be informed as soon as practicable after it
has been carried out. The grounds for the search and nature of the evidence sought must be recorded.
Moreover, Sections 15 and 16 the PACE 1984 provide statutory safeguards that must be followed when
applying for a search warrant. Section 15 specifies the requirements applicable for obtaining a search
warrant (including the content of the application made by the constable and the fact that the warrant
must specify, among the other things, the enactment under which it is issued and identify, as far as
possible, the articles and persons to be sought and the premises to be searched). Section 16 governs how
a search under a warrant must be carried out (for example: section 16(5) provides that the officer
executing the warrant provides the occupier with a copy of the warrant; section 16(11) requires that the
warrant, once executed, be retained for a period of 12 months; Section 16(12) provides the occupier
with the right to inspect the warrant during that period if they so wish). These Sections help ensure
compliance with Art. 8 ECHR (see for instance Kent Pharmaceuticals v Director of the Serious Fraud
Office [2002] EWHC 3023 (QB) at [30] by Lord Woolf CJ). A failure to comply with these safeguards
can result in the search being declared unlawful (examples include R (Brook) v Preston Crown Court
[2018] EWHC 2024 (Admin), [2018] ACD 95; R (Superior Import / Export Ltd) v Revenue and
Customs Commissioners [2017] EWHC 3172 (Admin), [2018] Lloyd’s Rep FC 115; and R (F) v
Blackfriars Crown Court [2014] EWHC 1541 (Admin)). Sections 15 and 16 of PACE 1984 are
supplemented by Code B of PACE, a Code of Practice which governs the exercise of police powers to
search premises.
186 For instance, when issuing a production order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, in addition to the
need to have reasonable grounds to meet the conditions set in out in 346(2) Proceeds of Crime Act,
there should be reasonable grounds that the person is in possession or control of the material so
specified and that the material is likely to be of substantial value. Moreover, another requirement for
issuing a production order is that there must be reasonable grounds for believing that it is in the public
interest for the material to be produced or for access to it to be given, having regard to (a) the benefit
likely to accrue to the investigation if the material is obtained; and (b) the circumstances under which
the person the application specifies as appearing to be in possession or control of the material holding
their information. Similarly, a court considering an application for a production order under Schedule 1
to the PACE 1984 must be satisfied that specific conditions are met. In particular, Schedule 1 of PACE
sets out two separate alternative sets of conditions, one of which must be met before a judge can issue a
production order. The first set requires that the judge has reasonable grounds for believing (i) that an
indictable offence has been committed; (ii) the material sought on the premises consists of, or includes,
special procedure but not excluded material; (iii) it is likely to be of substantial value, whether on its
own or together with other material, to the investigation; (iv) and that it is likely to be relevant evidence;
(v) other methods of obtaining the material have either been attempted or have not been attempted
because they would be bound to fail; and (vi) having considered the benefit to the investigation and the
circumstances under which the individual possesses it is in the public interest that the material be
produced or that access to it be provided. The second set of conditions requires: (i) there is material on
the premises which consists of special procedure or excluded material; (ii) were it not for the
prohibition on searches carried out on the basis of legislation passed before PACE for special
procedure, excluded or legal privilege material, a search warrant for the material could have been
issued; and (iii) it would have been appropriate to do so.EN 40 EN
(138) Production orders and search warrants may be challenged by way of judicial review187
.
In terms of safeguards, all criminal law enforcement authorities falling within the
scope of Part 3 of the DPA 2018), may only access personal data – which is a form of
processing – in line with the principles and requirements set out in the DPA 2018 (see
recitals (122) and (124) above). Therefore, a request made by any law enforcement
authority should be in compliance with the principle according to which the purposes
of processing must be specified, explicit and legitimate188 and that the personal data
processed by a competent authority must be relevant to that purpose and not
excessive189
.
3.2.1.2 Investigatory powers for law enforcement purposes
(139) For the purpose of preventing or detecting only serious crimes190, certain law
enforcement authorities, for example the National Crime Agency or the Chief of
Police191, can use targeted investigatory powers under the IPA 2016. In this case, the
safeguards provided by the IPA 2016 will apply in addition to those provided by Part 3
of the DPA 2018. The specific investigatory powers that those law enforcement
authorities can rely upon are: targeted interceptions (Part 2 of the IPA 2016),
acquisition of communications data (Part 3 of the IPA 2016), retention of
communications data (Part 4 of the IPA 2016) and targeted equipment interference
(Part 5 of the IPA 2016). Interception covers the acquisition of the content of a

187 Judicial review is the legal procedure by which the decisions of a public body can be challenged in the
High Court. The Courts “review” the decision being challenged and decide if it is arguable that the
decision is legally flawed, considering public law concepts/principles. The core grounds for judicial
review are namely, illegality, irrationality, procedural impropriety, legitimate expectations and human
rights. Following a successful judicial review a court is able to order a number of different remedies;
the most common of which is a quashing order (which would set aside or cancel the original decision –
i.e. the decision to issue a search warrant), in some circumstances this can also include the award of
financial compensation. Additional detail on judicial review in the UK is available in the Government
Legal Department’s publication “Judge Over Your Shoulder – a guide to good decision-making”,
available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/74617
0/JOYS-OCT-2018.pdf
188 Section 36(1) of the UK DPA 2018.
189 Section 37 of the UK DPA 2018.
190 Section 263(1) of the IPA 2016 provides that “serious crime” means an offence for which an adult, who
had no previous conviction, could reasonably be expected to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of
3 years or more or the conduct involves the use of violence, results in substantial financial gain or is
conduct by a large number of persons. Moreover, for the purposes of the acquisition of communications
data under Part 4 of the IPA 2016, Section 87(10B) provides that “serious crime” means a crime for
which a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or more can be imposed or an offence committed by a
person who is not an individual or which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a
communication or a breach of a person’s privacy.
191 In particular, the following law enforcement authorities can apply for a targeted interception warrant:
the Director General of the National Crime Agency, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, the
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of
Scotland, the Commissioner for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Chief of Defence Intelligence
and a person who is a competent authority of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom for the
purposes of an EU mutual assistance instrument or an international mutual assistance agreement
(Section 18(1) of the IPA 2016).EN 41 EN
communication192 while acquisition and retention of communications data is not aimed
at obtaining the content of the communication, but at the “who”, “when”, “where” and
“how” of the communication. This covers for instance the time and duration of a
communication, the phone number or email address of the originator and recipient of
the communication, and sometimes the location of the devices from which the
communication was made, the subscriber to a telephone service or an itemised bill193
.
Equipment interference is a set of techniques used to obtain a variety of data from
equipment, which includes computers, tablets and smart phones as well as cables,
wires and storage devices194
.
(140) Targeted interception powers can also be used when “necessary for the purpose of
giving effect to the provisions of an EU mutual assistance instrument or an
international mutual assistance agreement” (so-called “mutual assistance warrant”195).
Mutual assistance warrants are only provided in relation to interception, not
acquisition of communications data or equipment interference. These targeted powers
are regulated in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA 2016)196, which, together
with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) for England, Wales and
Northern Ireland and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000
(RIPSA) for Scotland, provide for the legal basis and set out the applicable limitations
and safeguards for the use of such powers. The IPA 2016 also provides the regime for
the use of bulk investigatory powers, although those are not available to law
enforcement authorities (only intelligence agencies can make use of them)197
.
(141) In order to exercise these powers, the authorities need to obtain a warrant198 issued by
a competent authority199, and approved by an independent Judicial Commissioner200

192 See Section 4 of the IPA 2016.
193 See Section 261(5) of the IPA 2016 and Code of Practice on Bulk Acquisition of Communications Data,
available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71547
7/Bulk_Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice.pdf, paragraph 2.9.
194 Code of Practice on Equipment Interference, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71547
9/Equipment_Interference_Code_of_Practice.pdf , paragraph 2.2.
195 A mutual assistance warrant authorises a UK authority to provide assistance to an authority outside the
UK territory for the interception and the disclosure of the intercepted material to such authority, in
accordance with an international mutual assistance instrument (Section 15(4) of the IPA 2016).
196 The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (see:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/25/contents/enacted) replaced a different laws concerning
the interception of communications, equipment interference and the acquisition of communication data,
in particular Part I of the RIPA 2000 that provided the previous general legislative framework for the
use of investigatory powers by law enforcement and national security authorities.
197 Sections 138(1), 158(1), 178(1), 199(1) of the IPA 2016.
198 Chapter 2 of Part 2 of the IPA 2016 provides for a limited number of cases where interceptions can be
performed without a warrant. This includes: interception with the consent of the sender or the recipient,
interception for administrative or enforcement purposes, interception taking place in certain institutions
(prisons, psychiatric hospitals and immigration detention facilities) as well as interception carried out in
accordance with a relevant international agreement.
199 In most of the cases, the Secretary of State is the authority that issues the warrants under the IPA 2016,
while Scottish Ministers are empowered to issue targeted interception warrants, mutual assistance
warrant and targeted equipment interference warrants when the persons or premises to be intercepted
and the equipment to be interfered are located in Scotland (see Sections 22 and 103 of the IPA 2016). In
case of targeted equipment interference, a law enforcement chief (described in Part 1 and Part 2 of
Schedule 6 to the IPA 2016) can issue the warrant under the conditions of Section 106 of the IPA 2016. EN 42 EN
(so-called “double-lock” procedure). The obtaining of such a warrant is subject to a
necessity and proportionality test201. Since these targeted investigatory powers
provided by the IPA 2016 are the same as those available to national security agencies,
the conditions, limitations and safeguards applicable to such powers are addressed in
detail in the Section on access and use of personal data by United Kingdom public
authorities for national security purposes (see recitals (177) and following).
3.2.2 Further use of the information collected
(142) The sharing of data by a law enforcement authority with a different authority for
purposes other than the ones for which it was originally collected (so-called “onward
sharing”) is subject to certain conditions.
(143) Similarly to what is provided under Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2016/680, Section
36(3) of the DPA 2018 allows that personal data collected by a competent authority
for a law enforcement purpose may be further processed (whether by the original
controller or by another controller) for any other law enforcement purpose, provided
that the controller is authorised by law to process data for the other purpose and the
processing is necessary and proportionate to that purpose202
. In this case, all the
safeguards provided by Part 3 of the DPA 2018, referred to in recitals (122) and (124)
apply to the processing carried out by the receiving authority.
(144) In the United Kingdom legal order, different laws explicitly allow such onward
sharing. In particular, (i) the Digital Economy Act 2017 allows the sharing between
public authorities for several purposes, for example in case of any fraud against the
public sector which would involve loss or a risk to loss for public authorities203 or in
case of a debt owed to a public authority or to the Crown204; (ii) the Crime and Courts
Act 2013 that permits the sharing of information with the National Crime Agency
(NCA)205 for combating, investigating and prosecuting serious and organised crime;
(iii) the Serious Crime Act 2007 that allows public authorities to disclose information
to anti-fraud organisations for the purposes of preventing fraud206
.
(145) These laws explicitly provide that the sharing of information should be in compliance
with the principles set in the DPA 2018. Moreover, the College of Policing has issued
an Authorised Professional Practice on Information Sharing207 to assist the police in
complying with their data protection obligations under the UK GDPR, DPA and

200 Judicial Commissioners assist the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC), an independent body
which exercises oversight functions over the use of investigative powers by intelligence agencies (see
for more details recital (162) et seq.).
201 See, in particular, Section 19 and 23 of IPA 2016.
202 Section 36(3) of the DPA 2018.
203 Section 56 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/30/section/56
204 Section 48 of the Digital Economy Act 2017.
205 Section 7 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/22/section/7
206 Section 68 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/27/contents
207 Authorised Professional Practice on Information Sharing, available at the following link:
https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/sharing-police-informationEN 43 EN
Human Rights Act 1998. The compliance of the sharing with the applicable data
protection legal framework is, of course, subject to judicial review208
.
(146) Moreover, similarly to what is set out in Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2016/680, the
DPA 2018 provides that personal data collected for any law enforcement purpose may
be processed for a purpose that is not a law enforcement one when the processing is
authorised by law209
.
(147) This type of sharing covers two scenarios: 1) when a criminal law enforcement
authority shares data with a non-criminal law enforcement authority other than an
intelligence agency (such as, e.g. a financial or tax authority, a competition authority, a
youth welfare office, etc.); and 2) when a criminal law enforcement authority shares
data with an intelligence agency. In the first scenario, the processing of personal data
will fall within the scope of the UK GDPR as well as under Part 2 of the DPA 2018.
The Commission has assessed the safeguards provided by the UK GDPR and Part 2 of
the DPA 2018 in recitals (12) to (111) and has come to the conclusion that the United
Kingdom ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred within
the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 from the European Union to the United
Kingdom.
(148) In the second scenario, with respect to the sharing of data collected by a criminal law
enforcement authority with an intelligence agency for purposes of national security,
the legal basis authorising such sharing is Section 19 of the Counter Terrorism Act
2008 (CTA 2008)210. Under this Act, any person may give information to any of the
intelligence services for the purpose of discharging any of the functions of that service,
including “national security”.
(149) As regards the conditions under which data can be shared for national security
purposes, the Intelligence Services Act211 and the Security Service Act212 limit the
ability of the intelligence services to obtain data to what is necessary to discharge their
statutory functions. Law enforcement agencies seeking to share data with the
intelligence services will need to consider a number of factors/limitations, in addition
to the statutory functions of the agencies which are set out in the Intelligence Services
Act and the Security Service Act213. Section 20 of the CTA 2008 makes clear that any

208 See for example case M, R v the Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2019] EWHC 975 (Admin) where
the High Court was asked to consider data sharing between the police and a Business Crime Reduction
Partnership (BCRP), an organisation empowered to manage exclusion notice schemes, prohibiting
persons from entering its members’ commercial premises. The court reviewed the data sharing, which
was taking place on the basis of an agreement having the purpose of protecting the public and
preventing crime and ultimately concluded that most aspects of data sharing were lawful, except in
relation to some sensitive information shared between the police and BCRP. Another example is case
Cooper v NCA [2019] EWCA Civ 16 where the Court of Appeal upheld the data sharing between the
police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), a law enforcement agency currently part of
the NCA.
209 Section 36(4) of the DPA 2018.
210 Counter Terrorism Act 2008, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/28/section/19
211 Intelligence Service Act 1994, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/13/contents
212 Security Service Act 1989, available at the following link:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/5/contents
213 Section 2(2) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 provides that “The Chief of the Intelligence Service
shall be responsible for the efficiency of that Service and it shall be his duty to ensure— (a) that there
are arrangements for securing that no information is obtained by the Intelligence Service except so far EN 44 EN
data sharing pursuant to Section 19 must still comply with the data protection
legislation; which means that all of the limitations and requirements in Part 3 of the
DPA 2018 apply. Furthermore, as competent authorities are public authorities for the
purpose of the Human Rights Act 1998, they must ensure that they act in compliance
with Convention rights, including Article 8 of the ECHR. These limits ensure that all
data sharing between the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence services
complies with data protection legislation and the ECHR.
(150) When a competent authority intends to share personal data processed under Part 3 of
the DPA 2018 with law enforcement authorities of a third country, specific
requirements apply214. In particular, such transfers may take place when they are based
on adequacy regulations made by the Secretary of State or, in the absence of such
regulations, appropriate safeguards must be ensured. Section 75 of the DPA 2018
provides that appropriate safeguards are in place where established by a legal
instrument binding the intended recipient, or where the controller, having assessed all
the circumstances surrounding transfers of that type of personal data to the third
country or international organisation, concludes that appropriate safeguards exist to
protect the data.
(151) If a transfer is not based on an adequacy regulation or appropriate safeguards, it can
take place only in certain, specified circumstances, referred to as “special
circumstances”215. This is the case when the transfer is necessary: (a) to protect the
vital interests of the data subject or another person; (b) to safeguard the legitimate
interests of the data subject; (c) for the prevention of an immediate and serious threat
to the public security of a member state or third country; (d) in individual cases for any
of the law enforcement purposes; or (e) in individual cases for a legal purpose (such as
in relation to legal proceedings or to obtain legal advice). It may be noted that (d) and
(e) do not apply if the rights and freedoms of the data subject override the public
interest in the transfer. This set of circumstances corresponds to the specific situations
and conditions qualifying as “derogations” under Article 38 of Directive (EU)
2016/680.
(152) Moreover, when the material acquired by law enforcement authorities under a warrant
authorising the use of interception or equipment interference is handed over to a third
country, the IPA 2016 imposes additional safeguards. In particular, such disclosure,
defined as “overseas disclosure”, is allowed only if the issuing authority considers that
specific appropriate arrangements are in place which limit the number of persons to

as necessary for the proper discharge of its functions and that no information is disclosed by it except so
far as necessary— (i) for that purpose; (ii) in the interests of national security; (iii) for the purpose of the
prevention or detection of serious crime; or (iv) for the purpose of any criminal proceedings; and (b)
that the Intelligence Service does not take any action to further the interests of any United Kingdom
political party” while Section 2(2) of the Security Service Act 1989 provides that “The Director-General
shall be responsible for the efficiency of the Service and it shall be his duty to ensure— (a) that there are
arrangements for securing that no information is obtained by the Service except so far as necessary for
the proper discharge of its functions or disclosed by it except so far as necessary for that purpose or for
the purpose of the prevention or detection of] serious crime or for the purpose of any criminal
proceedings]; and (b) that the Service does not take any action to further the interests of any political
party; and (c) that there are arrangements, agreed with Director General of the National Crime Agency,
for co-ordinating the activities of the Service in pursuance of Section 1(4) of this Act with the activities
of police forces, the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies”.
214 See Chapter 5 of Part 3 of the DPA 2018.
215 Section 76 of the DPA 2018.EN 45 EN
whom the data is disclosed, the extent to which any material is disclosed or made
available as well as the extent to which any of the material is copied and the number of
copies made. Moreover, the issuing authority may consider that appropriate
arrangements are necessary to ensure that every copy made of any part of that material
is destroyed as soon as there are no longer any relevant grounds for retaining it (if not
destroyed earlier)216
.
(153) Finally, specific forms of onward transfers from the United Kingdom to the United
States could in the future take place based on the “Agreement between the
Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the
Government of the United States of America on Access to Electronic Data for the
Purpose of Countering Serious Crime (the “UK-US Agreement” or “the
Agreement”)217, concluded in October 2019218. While the UK-US Agreement has not
yet entered into force at the time of adoption of this Decision, its foreseeable entry into
force may affect onward transfers to the US of data first transferred to the United
Kingdom on the basis of the Decision. More specifically, data transferred from the EU
to service providers in the United Kingdom could be subject to orders for the
production of electronic evidence issued by competent US law enforcement authorities
and made applicable in the United Kingdom under this Agreement once in force. For
these reasons, the assessment of the conditions and safeguards under which such
orders can be issued and executed is relevant to this Decision.
(154) In this respect, it should be noted that, first, as regards its material scope, the
Agreement is only applicable to crimes that are punishable with a maximum term of
imprisonment of at least three years (defined as “serious crime”)219, including
“terrorist activity”. Second, data processed in the other jurisdiction may be obtained
under this Agreement only following an “Order […] subject to review or oversight
under the domestic law of the Issuing Party by a court, judge, magistrate, or other
independent authority prior to or in proceedings regarding, enforcement of the
Order”220. Third, any order must “be based on requirements for a reasonable
justification based on articulable and credible facts, particularity, legality, and severity

216 Section 54 and Section 130 of the IPA 2016. The issuing authorities must consider the need to impose
specific safeguards to the material handed over to foreign authorities, as to make sure that the data is
subject to safeguards in terms of retention, destruction and disclosure of the data similar to the ones that
are imposed in Section 53 and section 129 of the IPA 2016.
217 Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and
the Government of the United States of America on Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of
Countering Serious Crime, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/83696
9/CS_USA_6.2019_Agreement_between_the_United_Kingdom_and_the_USA_on_Access_to_Electro
nic_Data_for_the_Purpose_of_Countering_Serious_Crime.pdf
218 This is the first agreement reached under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act
The United States CLOUD Act is a US federal law that was adopted on 23 March 2018 and that
clarifies, through an amendment of the Stored Communications Act of 1986, that U.S. service providers
are obliged to comply with U.S. orders to disclose content and non-content data, regardless of where
such data is stored. The CLOUD Act also allows the conclusion of executive agreements with foreign
governments, on the basis of which U.S. service providers would be able to deliver content data directly
to these foreign governments (the text of the CLOUD Act is available at the following link:
https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s2383/BILLS-115s2383is.pdf)
219 Article 1 (14) of the Agreement.
220 Article 5(2) of the Agreement.EN 46 EN
regarding the conduct under investigation”221 and “be targeted at specific accounts as
well as identify a specific person, account, address, or personal device, or any other
specific identifier”222
. Fourth, data obtained under this agreement benefits from
equivalent protections to the specific safeguards provided by the so-called “EU-US
Umbrella Agreement”223
– a comprehensive data protection agreement concluded in
December 2016 by the EU and the US and that sets out the safeguards and rights
applicable to data transfers in the area of law enforcement cooperation – which are all
incorporated into this Agreement by reference on a mutatis mutandis basis to notably
take into account the specific nature of the transfers (i.e. transfers from private
operators to a law enforcement, rather than transfers between law enforcement
authorities)224. The UK-US Agreement specifically provides that equivalent
protections to those provided by the EU-US Umbrella Agreement will be applied “to
all personal information produced in the execution of Orders subject to the Agreement
to produce equivalent protections”225
.
(155) Data transferred to US authorities under the UK-US Agreement should therefore
benefit from protections provided by an EU law instrument, with the necessary
adaptations to reflect the nature of the transfers at issue. The United Kingdom
authorities have further confirmed that the protections of the Umbrella Agreement will
apply to all personal information produced or preserved under the Agreement,
irrespective of the nature or type of body making the request (e.g. both federal and
State law enforcement authorities in the US), so that equivalent protection must be
provided in all cases. However, the United Kingdom authorities have also explained
that the details of the concrete implementation of the data protection safeguards are
still subject to discussions between the United Kingdom and the US. In the context of
the talks with the European Commission’s services on this decision, the United
Kingdom authorities confirmed that they will only let the Agreement enter into force
once they are satisfied that its implementation complies with the legal obligations
provided therein, including clarity with respect to compliance with the data protection
standards for any data requested under this Agreement. As a possible entry into force
of the Agreement may impact the level of protection assessed in this Decision, any
information and future clarification regarding the way the US will comply with its
obligations under the Agreement should be communicated by the United Kingdom to
the European Commission, as soon as it becomes available and in any case before the
entry into force of the Agreement, to ensure proper monitoring of this decision in line
with Article 45 (4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Particular attention will be given to
the application and adaptation of the Umbrella Agreement’s protections to the specific
type of transfers covered by the UK-US Agreement.

221 Article 5(1) of the Agreement.
222 Article 4(5) of the Agreement. An additional and stricter standard applies with respect to real-time
interception: orders need to be for a limited duration, which shall not be longer than what is reasonably
necessary to accomplish the purposes of the order, and shall only be issued if the same information
could not be reasonably obtained by a less intrusive method (Article 5(3) of the Agreement).
223 Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal
information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offences OJ
L 336, 10.12.2016, p. 3–13, available at the following link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22016A1210(01)&from=EN
224 Article 9(1) of the Agreement.
225 Article 9(1) of the Agreement.EN 47 EN
(156) More generally, any relevant development as regards the entry into force and
application of the Agreement will be duly taken into account in the context of the
continuous monitoring of this decision, including with respect to the necessary
consequences to be drawn in case of any indication that an essentially equivalent level
of protection is no longer ensured.
3.2.3 Oversight
(157) Depending on the powers used by the competent authorities when processing personal
data for a law enforcement purpose (whether under the DPA 2018 or the IPA 2016),
different bodies ensure the oversight over the use of these powers. In particular, the
Information Commissioner oversees the processing of personal data when it falls
under the scope of Part 3 of the DPA 2018226. Independent and judicial oversight on
the use of investigatory powers under the IPA 2016 is ensured by the Investigatory
Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO)227 (this part is addressed in recitals (250) to
(255)). Moreover, additional oversight is guaranteed by the Parliament as well as by
other bodies.
3.2.3.1 Oversight over Part 3 of the DPA 2018
(158) The general functions of the Information Commissioner – whose independence and
organisation are explained in recital (87) – in relation to the processing of personal
data falling under the scope of Part 3 of the DPA 2018 are laid down in Schedule 13 to
the DPA 2018. The ICO’s main task is to monitor and enforce Part 3 of the DPA 2018
as well as to promote public awareness, advise Parliament, the government and other
institutions and bodies. To maintain the independence of the judiciary, the Information
Commissioner is not authorised to exercise its functions in relation to processing of
personal data by an individual acting in a judicial capacity, or a court or tribunal acting
in its judicial capacity. In these circumstances, other bodies would exercise the
oversight functions, as explained in recitals (99) to (103).
(159) The Commissioner has general investigative, corrective, authorisation and advisory
powers in relation to processing of personal data to which Part 3 applies. In particular,
the Commissioner has the powers to notify the controller or the processor of an alleged
infringement of Part 3 of the DPA 2018, to issue warnings or reprimand to a controller
or processor that has infringed provisions of Part 3 of the Act, as well as to issue on its
own initiative or on request, opinions to Parliament, government or other institutions
and bodies as well as to the public on any issue related to the protection of personal
data228
.
(160) Moreover, the Commissioner has powers to issue information notices229, assessment
notices230 and enforcement notices231 as well as the power to access documents of

226 Section 116 of the DPA 2018.
227 See IPA 2016 and in particular Chapter 1 Part 8.
228 Paragraph 2 of the Schedule 13 to the DPA 2018.
229 Ordering the controller and the processor (and in certain circumstances any other person) to provide
necessary information (Section 142 of the DPA 2018).
230 Allowing the carrying out investigations and audit, which may require the controller or processor to
permit the Commissioner to enter specified premises, inspect or examine documents or equipment,
interview people processing personal data on behalf of the controller (Section 146 of the DPA 2018).
231 Permitting the exercise of corrective powers, which requires controllers/processors to take or refrain
from taking specified steps (Section 149 of the DPA 2018).EN 48 EN
controllers and processors, access their premises232 and issue administrative fines in
the form of penalty notices233
. The ICO’s Regulatory Action Policy sets out the
circumstances under which it issues respectively information, assessment, enforcement
and penalty notices234 (see also recital (93) and Directive (EU) 2016/680 adequacy
decision recitals 101-102).
(161) According to its latest annual reports (2018–2019235, 2019-2020236), the Information
Commissioner has conducted a number of investigations and taken enforcement
measures with respect to processing of data by law enforcement authorities. For
example, the Commissioner conducted an investigation and published an Opinion in
October 2019 concerning law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology in
public places. The investigation focused, in particular, on the use of live facial
recognition capabilities by South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police Service
(MPS). The Information Commissioner also investigated the MPS “Gangs matrix”237
and found a range of serious infringements of data protection law that were likely to
undermine public confidence in the matrix and how the data was being used. In
November 2018, the Information Commissioner issued an enforcement notice and the
MPS subsequently took the steps required to increase security and accountability and
to ensure that the data was used proportionately. Another example of an enforcement
action in this area is the £325,000 fine issued by the Commissioner in May 2018
against the Crown Prosecution Service, for losing unencrypted DVDs containing
recordings of police interviews. The Information Commissioner also conducted
investigations into broader topics, for example in the first half of 2020 on the use of
Mobile Phone Extraction for Policing Purposes and the processing of victims’ data by
the police. Moreover, the Commissioner is currently investigating a case that involves
the access of law enforcement authorities to data held by a private sector entity,
Clearview AI Inc.238
(162) Besides the enforcement powers of the Information Commissioner mentioned in
recitals ((160) and (161)), certain violations of the data protection legislation constitute
offences and may therefore be subject to criminal sanctions (section 196 of the DPA
2018). This applies, for example, to obtaining, disclosing or retaining personal data
without the consent of the controller and procuring the disclosure of personal data to
another person without the consent of the controller239’; re-identifying information that
is de-identified personal data without the consent of the controller responsible for deidentifying the personal data240; intentionally obstructing the Commissioner to
exercise its powers in relation to inspection of personal data in accordance with
international obligations241, making false statements in response to an information

232 Section 154 of the DPA 2018.
233 Section 155 of the DPA 2018.
234 Regulatory Action Policy, see footnote 96.
235 Information Commissioner’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018-19, see footnote 101.
236 Information Commissioner’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019-20, see footnote 82.
237 A database which recorded intelligence related to alleged gang members and victims of gang related
crimes.
238 See ICO statement, available at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-andevents/news-and-blogs/2020/07/oaic-and-ico-open-joint-investigation-into-clearview-ai-inc/
239 Section 170 of the DPA 2018.
240 Section 171 of the DPA 2018.
241 Section 119(6) of the DPA 2018.EN 49 EN
notice, or destroying information in connection to information and assessment
notices242
.
3.2.3.3 Other oversight bodies in the area of criminal law enforcement
(163) In addition to the Information Commissioner, there are several oversight bodies in the
area of criminal law enforcement with specific mandates relevant for data protection
issues. This includes for instance the Commissioner for the Retention and Use of
Biometric Material (‘the Biometrics Commissioner’)243 and the Surveillance Camera
Commissioner244
.
3.2.3.4 Parliamentary oversight in the area of criminal law enforcement
(164) The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) ensures parliamentary oversight in the
area of law enforcement. This Committee consists of 11 Members of Parliament,
drawn from the three largest political parties. The Committee has the task to examine
the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Home Office and associated public
bodies, i.e. including the police and the NCA – whose work the Committee can
scrutinise specifically245
.
(165) The Committee can, within the limits of their remit, choose its own subject of inquiry,
including specific cases, as long as the issue is not sub judice. The Committee may
also seek written and oral evidence from a wide range of relevant groups and
individuals. It produces reports on its findings and issues recommendations to the
Government246. The Government is expected to respond to each of the report’s
recommendations and must respond within 60 days247
.

242 During the financial year covering the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, the ICO’s
investigations have resulted in four cautions and eight prosecutions. These cases were prosecuted under
Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998, Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
Section 170 of the Data Protection Act 2018. In 75% of cases, the defendants submitted guilty pleas
negating the necessity for protracted trials with the associated costs. (Information Commissioner’s
Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019/2020, see footnote 87, page 40).
243 The Biometrics Commissioner was established by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA) (see:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/9/contents). Among others functions, the Biometrics
Commissioner decides whether or not the police may retain DNA profile records and fingerprints
obtained from individuals arrested but not charged with a qualifying offence (Section 63G of the PACE
1984). Moreover, the Biometrics Commissioner has a general responsibility to keep the retention and
use of DNA and fingerprints, and retention on national security grounds, under review (Section 20(2) of
the POFA 2012). The Biometric Commissioner is appointed under the Code for Public Appointments
(the Code is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governancecode-for-public-appointments ) and his terms of appointment make it clear that he may only be removed
from office by the Home Secretary under a narrowly defined set of circumstances; these include a
failure to carry out his duties for a period of three months, conviction for a criminal offence or a failure
to comply with the terms of his appointment.
244 The Surveillance Camera Commissioner was established by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and
has the role of encouraging compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice; reviewing the
operation of this Code ; and providing advice to ministers on whether this Code needs amending. The
Commissioner is appointed under the same rules as the Biometrics Commissioners and enjoys similar
powers, resources and protection against removal.
245 See https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/83/home-affairs-committee/news/100537/work-of-thenational-crime-agency-scrutinised/
246 Select Committees, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, are subject to the Standing Orders of
the House of Commons. Standing Orders are the rules, agreed by the House of Commons, governing the
way parliament does business. The remit of select committees is broad, with Standing Order 152(1)
providing that the “Select committees shall be appointed to examine the expenditure, administration and EN 50 EN
(166) In the area of surveillance, the Committee also produced a report concerning the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA 2000)248, which found that the
RIPA 2000 was not fit for purpose. Their report was taken into account during the
replacement of significant parts of the RIPA 2000 with the IPA 2016. A full list of
inquiries can be found on the Committee’s website249
.
(167) The tasks of the HASC are performed in Scotland by the Justice Subcommittee on
Policing and in Northern Ireland by the Committee for Justice250
.
3.2.4 Redress
(168) As regards processing of data by law enforcement authorities, redress mechanisms are
available under Part 3 of the DPA 2018 and under the IPA 2016, as well as under the
Human Rights Act 1998.
(169) This series of mechanisms provide data subjects with effective administrative and
judicial means of redress, enabling them in particular to ensure their rights, including
the right to have access to their personal data, or to obtain the rectification or erasure
of such data.
(170) First, under Section 165 the DPA 2018, a data subject has the right to lodge a
complaint with the Information Commissioner if the data subject considers that, in
connection with personal data relating to him or her, there is an infringement of Part 3
of the DPA 2018251. The Information Commissioner has the power to assess the
compliance of the controller and processor with the DPA 2018, require them to take
necessary steps in case of non-compliance and impose fines.
(171) Second, the DPA 2018 provides the right to a remedy against the Information
Commissioner if it fails to appropriately handle a complaint made by the data subject.
More specifically, if the Commissioner fails to “progress”252 a complaint made by the

policy of the principal government departments as set out in paragraph (2) of this order and associated
public bodies.” This enables the Home Affairs Select Committee to look at any policy owned by the
Home Office, which includes policies (and the related legislation) on investigatory powers. Moreover,
standing Order 152(4) makes clear that Committees have various powers, including the ability to
request persons to give evidence or documents on a particular issue, and to produce reports. The
Committee’s current and previous enquiries are available at the following link
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/83/home-affairs-committee/.
247 The powers of the Home Affairs Select Committee in England and Wales are set out in the Standing
Orders of the House of Commons, available at the following link:
https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/commons/standing-orders-public11/.
248 Available at the following link:
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmhaff/711/71103.htm
249 Available at the following link: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/83/home-affairs-committee
250 The rules of the Justice Subcommittee on Policing in Scotland are provided at the following link
https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/justice-committee.aspx and the
rules of Committee of Justice in Northern Ireland are set out at the following link:
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/assembly-business/standing-orders/ ]
251 The last ICO annual report provides a breakdown of the nature of complaints received and closed. In
particular, the number of complaints received for “policing and criminal records” amount to 6% of the
total number of complaints received (with an increase of 1% compared to the previous financial year).
The annual report also shows that complaints concerning subjects’ access requests represent the highest
number (46% over total number of complaints, with an increase of 8% compared to the previous
financial year) (ICO’ s Annual report 2019-2020, page 55; see footnote 88).
252 Section 166 of the DPA 2018 refers specifically to the following situations: (a) the Commissioner fails
to take appropriate steps to respond to the complaint, (b) the Commissioner fails to provide the EN 51 EN
data subject, the complainant has access to judicial remedy, as they can apply to a First
Tier Tribunal253 to order the Commissioner to take appropriate steps to respond to the
complaint, or to inform the complainant of progress on the complaint254. In addition,
any person who is given any of the mentioned notices (information, assessment,
enforcement or penalty notice) from the Commissioner may appeal to a First Tier
Tribunal. If the Tribunal considers that the decision of the Commissioner is not in
accordance with the law or the Information Commissioner should have exercised its
discretion differently, the Tribunal must allow the appeal, or substitute another notice
or decision which the Information Commissioner could have given or made255
.
(172) Third, individuals can obtain judicial redress against controllers and processors
directly before the courts. In particular, under Section 167 of the DPA 2018, a data
subject may submit an application before the court for an infringement of his/her right
under the data protection legislation and the court may by means of an order request
the controller to take (or to refrain from taking) any step with respect to the processing
to comply with the DPA 2018. Moreover, under Section 169 of the DPA 2018, any
person who has suffered damage due to a violation of a requirement of the data
protection legislation (including Part 3 of the DPA 2018), other than the UK GDPR, is
entitled to compensation for that damage from the controller or the processor, except if
the controller or processor proves that the controller or processor is not in any way
responsible for the event giving rise to the damage. Damage includes both financial
loss and damage not involving financial loss, such as distress.
(173) Finally, any person, as far as he/she considers that his/her rights, including rights to
privacy and data protection, have been violated by any public authorities, can obtain
redress before the courts of the United Kingdom under the Human Rights Act 1998256
,
and, after exhausting national remedies, a person, non-governmental organisation and

complainant with information about progress on the complaint, or of the outcome of the complaint,
before the end of the period of 3 months beginning when the Commissioner received the complaint, or
(c) if the Commissioner’s consideration of the complaint is not concluded during that period, fails to
provide the complainant with such information during a subsequent period of 3 months.
253 The First Tier Tribunal is the court competent for handling appeals against decisions made by
government regulatory bodies. In the case of the Information Commissioner’s decision, the competent
chamber is the “General Regulatory Chamber” which has jurisdiction over the whole United Kingdom.
254 Section 166 of the DPA 2018. Example of successful actions against the ICO before the Tribunal
include a case where the ICO acknowledged receipt of a complaint from a data subject but did not
indicate what course of action it intended to take, and was therefore ordered to confirm, within 21
calendar days, whether it was going to investigate the complaints and, if so, to inform the complainant
of the progress of the investigation no less frequently than every 21 calendar days thereafter (the
judgment has not yet been published), and a case where the First Tier Tribunal considered that it was
unclear whether the ICO’s response to a complainant properly constituted the ‘outcome’ of the
complaint (see Susan Milne v The Information Commissioner [2020], judgement available at the
following link:
https://informationrights.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/DBFiles/Decision/i2730/Milne,%20S%20-
%20QJ2020-0296-GDPR-V,%20051220%20Section%20166%20DPA%20-DECISION.pdf)
255 Sections 162 and 163 of the DPA 2018.
256 See for example Brown v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Anor [2019] EWCA Civ 1724
where damages of £9,000 were awarded under the DPA 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 for
unlawful obtaining and misuse of personal information, and R (on the application of Bridges) v Chief
Constable of South Wales [2020] EWCA Civ 1058 where the Court of Appeal declared unlawful the
deployment of a facial recognition system by the Wales police, as it was in breach of Article 8 of the
ECHR and the data protection impact assessment produced by the controller did not comply with the
DPA 2018.EN 52 EN
groups of individuals can obtain redress before the European Court of Human Rights
for violations of the rights guaranteed under the European Convention of Human
Rights257 (see in recital (111)).
3.2.4.1 Redress mechanisms available under the IPA 2016
(174) Individuals can obtain redress for violations of the IPA 2016 before the Investigatory
Powers Tribunal. The redress avenues available under the IPA 2016 are described in
recitals (263) to (269) below.
3.3 Access and use by United Kingdom public authorities for national security
purposes
(175) In the United Kingdom legal order, the intelligence services empowered to collect
electronic information held by controllers or processors on national security grounds,
in situations that are relevant to an adequacy scenario, are the Security Service258
(MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service259 (SIS) and the Government Communications
Headquarters260 (GCHQ)261
.
3.3.1 Legal bases, limitations and safeguards
(176) In the United Kingdom, the powers of the intelligence agencies are set out in the IPA
2016 and the RIPA 2000, which, together with the DPA 2018, defines the material and
personal scope of these powers as well as the limitations and safeguards for their use.

257 Article 34 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides that “The Court may receive
applications from any person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the
victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in the Convention or
the Protocols thereto. The High Contracting Parties undertake not to hinder in any way the effective
exercise of this right”.
258 The MI5 is under the authority of the Home Secretary. The Security Service Act 1989 sets out MI5’s
functions: protecting national security (including protection against threats from espionage, terrorism
and sabotage, from activities of agents of foreign powers and from actions intended to overthrow or
undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means), safeguarding the
economic well-being of the UK against outside threats and supporting activities of the police forces and
other law enforcement agencies in the prevention and detection of serious crime.
259 The SIS is under authority of the Foreign Secretary and its functions are set out in the Intelligence
Services Act 1994. Its functions are to obtain and provide information relating to the actions or
intentions of persons outside the British Islands and to perform other tasks relating to the actions or
intentions of such persons. These functions can be exercised only in the interest of national security, in
the interests of the economic well-being of the UK or in support of the prevention or detection of
serious crime.
260 The GCHQ is under authority of the Foreign Secretary and its functions are set out in the Intelligence
Services Act 1994. These are (a) to monitor, make use of or interfere with electromagnetic and other
emissions and equipment producing such emissions, obtain and provide information derived from or
related to such emissions or equipment and from encrypted material; (b) to provide advice and
assistance about languages, including terminology used for technical matters and cryptography and
other matters relating to the protection of information to the armed forces, to the government or other
organisations or persons considered appropriate. These functions can be exercised only in the interest of
national security, in the interests of the economic well-being of the UK in the relation to the actions or
intentions of persons outside the British Islands or in support of the prevention or detection of serious
crime.
261 Other public bodies exercising functions relevant to national security are the Defence Intelligence (DI),
the National Security Council and Secretariat, the Joint Intelligence Organisation and the Joint
Intelligence Committee. However, neither the JIC nor the JIO are able to make use of investigatory
powers under the IPA 2016 while the DI has limited scope to use its powers.EN 53 EN
Those powers as well as the limitations and safeguards applicable to them are assessed
in detail in the following sections.
3.3.1.1 Investigatory powers exercised in the context of national security
(177) The IPA 2016 provides the legal framework for the use of investigatory powers, i.e.
the power to intercept, access communication data and perform equipment
interference. The IPA 2016 introduces a general prohibition and makes it a criminal
offence to use techniques that allow access to the content of communications, access
to communication data or equipment interference without lawful authority262. This is
reflected in the fact that the use of these investigatory powers is lawful only when
carried out on the basis of a warrant or an authorization263
.
(178) The IPA 2016 lays down detailed rules governing the scope and application of each
investigatory powers as well as their specific limitations and safeguards. Different
rules apply depending on the type of investigatory power (interception of
communications, acquisition and retention of communication data and equipment
interference)264 as well as on whether the power is exercised on a specific target or in
bulk. Details on the scope, safeguards and limitations of each measure provided by the
IPA 2016 are described in the specific section below.
(179) Moreover, the IPA 2016 is supplemented with a number of statutory Codes of
Practice, issued by the Secretary of State, approved by both Houses of the
Parliament265 and applicable throughout the country, providing further guidance on the
use of these powers266. While data subjects can rely directly on the provisions laid
down in the IPA 2016 to exercise their rights, Schedule 7 paragraph 5 to the IPA 2016
specifies that the Codes of Practice are admissible as evidence in civil and criminal
proceedings, and the court, tribunal or supervisory authority may take into account any
non-compliance with the Codes when determining a relevant issue in judicial
proceedings267. In the context of its assessment of the “quality of the law” of the UK’s

262 The prohibition applies to both public and private communication networks, as well as the public postal
service when the interception is carried out in the United Kingdom. The prohibition does not apply to
the controller of the private network if the controller has given express or implied consent to carry out
the interception (Section 3 of the IPA 2016).
263 In specific limited cases lawful interception without a warrant is possible, i.e. when intercepting with
the consent of the sender or recipient (Section 44 of the IPA 2016), in case of limited administrative or
enforcement purposes (Section 45 to 48 of the IPA), in certain special institutions (Sections 49-51 of the
IPA 2016) and in accordance with overseas requests (Section 52 of the IPA 2016).
264 As regards for example the scope of such measures, under Part 3 and Part 4 (retention and acquisition of
communication data), the scope of the measure is strictly linked to the definition of “telecommunication
operators” whose users’ data are subject to the measure. Another example can be given in relation to the
use of “bulk” powers. In this case, the scope of these powers is limited to “communications sent or
received by individuals outside the British Island”.
265 Schedule 7 to the IPA 2016 determines the scope of the Codes, the procedure to be followed when
issuing them, the rules for the revision of them and the effect of the codes.
266 The codes of practice under the IPA 2016 are available at the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/investigatory-powers-act-2016-codes-of-practice
267 The Courts and Tribunals use the Codes of practice to assess the lawfulness of the conduct of the
authorities. See for example: Dias v Cleveland Police, [2017] UKIPTrib15_586-CH , where the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal made reference to specific passages of the Code of Practice on
Communication Data to understand the definition of the ground of “preventing or detecting crime or of
preventing disorder” used to apply for the acquisition of communication data. The Code was included in
the reasoning to find whether that ground was used incorrectly. The Court went on to conclude that the
conducts contested were unlawful. Courts have also made evaluation on the level of safeguards EN 54 EN
previous legislation in the area of surveillance, the RIPA 2000, the Grand Chamber of
the European Court of Human Rights expressly recognised the relevance of the UK
Codes of Practice and accepted that its provisions could be taken into account in
assessing the foreseeability of the legislation permitting the surveillance268
.
(180) It should then be noted that targeted powers (targeted interception269, acquisition of
communication data270, retention of communication data271 and targeted equipment
interference272) are available to national security agencies and certain law enforcement
authorities273 while only intelligence services may make use of bulk powers (i.e. bulk
interception274, bulk acquisition of communications data275, bulk equipment
interference276 and bulk personal datasets277).
(181) In deciding which investigation power should be used, the intelligence agency has to
comply with the “general duties in relation to privacy” listed in Section 2(2)(a) of the
IPA 2016, which include a necessity and proportionality test. More specifically,
pursuant to this provision, a public authority having the intention to use an
investigatory power must consider (i) whether what is sought to be achieved by the
warrant, authorisation or notice could reasonably be achieved by other less intrusive
means; (ii) whether the level of protection to be applied in relation to any obtaining of
information by virtue of the warrant, authorisation or notice is higher because of the
particular sensitivity of that information; (iii) the public interest in the integrity and
security of telecommunication systems and postal services, and (iv) any other aspects
of the public interest in the protection of privacy278
.

available in the Codes, see for example Just for Law Kids v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2019] EWHC 1772 (Admin) where the High Court found that primary and secondary legislation
together with the internal guidance provided sufficient safeguards; or R (National Council for Civil
Liberties) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Others [2019] EWHC 2057 (Admin), where
it found that both the IPA 2016 and Code of Practice on Equipment Interference contained sufficient
provisions as to the need for specificity of warrants.
268 In the Big Brother Watch case, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights noted that
“The IC Code is a public document approved by both Houses of Parliament, which is published by the
Government online and in print version, and which has to be taken into account both by persons
exercising interception duties and the courts (see paragraphs 93-94 above). As a consequence, this Court
has accepted that its provisions could be taken into account in assessing the foreseeability of RIPA
(see Kennedy, cited above, § 157). Accordingly, the Court would accept that domestic law was
adequately ‘accessible’”.” (see European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber), Big Brother Watch
and others v United Kingdom, Applications nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15, of 25 May 2021
paragraph 366).
269 Part 2 of the IPA 2016.
270 Part 3 of the IPA 2016.
271 Part 4 of the IPA 2016.
272 Part 5 of the IPA 2016.
273 For the list of relevant law enforcement authorities that can apply targeted investigative powers under
the IPA 2016, see footnote (139).
274 Section 136 of the IPA 2016.
275 Section 158 of the IPA 2016.
276 Section 176 of the IPA 2016.
277 Section 199 of the IPA 2016.
278 The Code of Practice on Interception of Communications specifies that other elements of the
proportionality test are: “(i) the extent of the proposed interference with privacy against what is sought
to be achieved; (ii) how and why the methods to be adopted will cause the least possible interference to
the person and others; (iii) whether the activity is an appropriate use of the Act and a reasonable way,
having considered all reasonable alternatives, of achieving what is sought to be achieved; (iv) what EN 55 EN
(182) The way these criteria should be applied – and the way their compliance is assessed as
part of the authorisation of the use of such powers by the Secretary of State and the
independent Judicial Commissioners – is further specified in the relevant Codes of
Practice. In particular, the use of any one of these investigative powers must always be
“proportionate to what is sought to be achieved [which] involves balancing the
seriousness of the intrusion into the privacy (and other considerations set out in section
2(2)) against the need for the activity in investigative, operational or capability terms”.
This means notably that it “should offer a realistic prospect of bringing the expected
benefit and should not be disproportionate or arbitrary” and “[n]o interference with
privacy should be considered proportionate if the information which is sought could
reasonably be obtained by other less intrusive means” 279. More specifically,
compliance with the principle of proportionality must be assessed having regard to the
following criteria: “(i) the extent of the proposed interference with privacy against
what is sought to be achieved; (ii) how and why the methods to be adopted will cause
the least possible interference to the person and others; (iii) whether the activity is an
appropriate use of the Act and a reasonable way, having considered all reasonable
alternatives, of achieving what is sought to be achieved; (iv) what other methods, as
appropriate, were either not implemented or have been employed but which are
assessed as insufficient to fulfil operational objectives without the use of the proposed
investigatory power”280
.
(183) In practice, as explained by the United Kingdom authorities, this ensures that an
intelligence agency, first, sets the operational objective (thus delimitating the
collection, e.g. an international counterterrorism purpose in a specific geographic area)
and, second, on the basis of that operational objective, will have to consider which
technical option (e.g. targeted or bulk interception, equipment interference, acquisition
of communication data) is the most proportionate (i.e. the least intrusive to privacy cf.
Section 2(2) of the IPA) to what is sought to be achieved and therefore can be
authorised under one of the available statutory bases.
(184) It is worth noting that this reliance on standards of necessity and proportionality has
also been noted and welcomed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy,
Joseph Cannataci, who stated, regarding the system established by the IPA 2016, that
“[t]he procedures in place both within the intelligence services as within the law
enforcement agencies appear to systematically require consideration of the necessity
and proportionality of a surveillance measure or operation before it is recommended
for authorization as well as its review on the same grounds”281. He also observed that

other methods, as appropriate, were either not implemented or have been employed but which are
assessed as insufficient to fulfil operational objectives without the use of the proposed investigatory
power”. Code of Practice on Interception of Communications paragraph 4.16, available at the following
link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71548
0/Interception_of_Communications_Code_of_Practice.pdf
279 See Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraphs 4.12 and 4.15, available at the
following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71548
0/Interception_of_Communications_Code_of_Practice.pdf
280 See Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 4.16.
281 End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy at the Conclusion Of his
Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, available at the following link:
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23296&LangID=E, para
1.a.EN 56 EN
in his meeting with representatives of law enforcement and national security agencies
“[he] received a consensus view that the right to privacy needs to be a primary
consideration for any decision regarding surveillance measures. All of them
understood and appreciated necessity and proportionality as the cardinal principles to
be taken into account”.
(185) The specific criteria for issuing the different warrants, as well as the limitations and
safeguards established by the IPA 2016 regarding each investigatory power are
detailed in recitals (186) to (243).
3.3.1.1.1 Targeted interception and examination
(186) There are three types of warrant for targeted interception: the targeted interception
warrant282, the targeted examination warrant and a mutual assistance warrant283. The
conditions to obtain such warrants as well as the relevant safeguards are set out in
Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the IPA 2016.
(187) A targeted interception warrant authorizes the interception of the communications
described in the warrant in the course of their transmission and obtaining other data
relevant for those communications284, including secondary data285. A targeted
examination warrant authorises a person to carry out the selection for examination of
intercepted content obtained under a bulk interception warrant286
.
(188) Any warrant pursuant to Part 2 of the IPA 2016 may be issued by the Secretary of
State287 and approved by a Judicial Commissioner288
. In all cases the duration of any
type of targeted warrant is limited to 6 months289 and specific rules apply concerning
its modification290 and renewal291
.

282 Section 15(2) of the IPA 2016.
283 Section 15 (4) of the IPA 2016.
284 Section 15(2) of the IPA 2016.
285 Secondary data are data attached or logically associated with the intercepted communication, can be
logically separated from it and if it were so separated, would not reveal anything of what might
reasonably be considered to be the meaning (if any) of the communication. Some examples of
secondary data include router configurations or firewalls or the period of time a router has been active
on a network when they are part of, attached to or logically associated with intercepted communication.
For more details see the definition in Section 16 of the IPA 2016 and Code of Practice on Interception
of Communications, paragraph 2.19, see footnote 278.
286 This examination is carried out as an exception of section 152(4) of the IPA 2016 which provides for
the prohibition of seeking to identify communication of individuals which are in the British Islands. See
recital (229).
287 The Scottish Minister authorises the warrant when it relates to serious criminal activity in Scotland (see
Section 21 and Section 22 of the IPA 2016) while a senior officer can be designated by the Secretary of
State to issue a mutual assistance warrant when it appears that the interception will concern a person or
premises located outside the United Kingdom (Section 40 of the IPA 2016).
288 Sections 19 and 23 of the IPA 2016.
289 Section 32 of the IPA 2016.
290 Section 39 of the IPA 2016. Limited modifications can be made to the warrants by prescribed
persons under the conditions set out in the IPA 2016. The person who issued the warrant can cancel a
warrant at any time. They must do so if the warrant is no longer necessary on any relevant grounds or
the conduct authorised by the warrant is no longer proportionate to what is sought to be achieved.
291 Section 33 of the IPA 2016. The decision to renew the warrant must be approved by a Judicial
Commissioner.EN 57 EN
(189) Before issuing the warrant, the Secretary of State must carry out a necessity and
proportionality assessment292
. Specifically, for a targeted interception warrant and a
targeted examination warrant, the Secretary of State should verify whether the
measure is necessary for one of the following grounds: the interest of national
security; the prevention or detection of a serious crime; or the interests of the
economic well-being of the United Kingdom293 in so far as those interests are also
relevant to the interests of national security294. On the other hand, a mutual assistance
warrant (see recital (139) above) can be issued only if the Secretary of State considers
that circumstances exist equivalent to those in which he/she would issue a warrant for
the purpose of preventing and or detecting serious crime295
.
(190) Moreover, the Secretary of State should assess whether the measure is proportionate to
what is sought to be achieved296. The assessment on the proportionality of the
measures requested must take into account the general duties in relation to privacy set
out in Section 2(2) of the IPA 2016, notably the need to assess whether what is sought
to be achieved by the warrant, authorisation or notice could reasonably be achieved by
other less intrusive means and whether the level of protection to be applied in relation
to any obtaining of information by virtue of the warrant, is higher because of the
particular sensitivity of that information (see recital (181) above).
(191) To this end, the Secretary of State will have to take into account all the elements of the
application provided by the authority submitting the request, in particular those related
to the persons to be intercepted and the relevance of the measure for the investigation.
Such elements are spelled out in the Code of Practice on Interception of
Communications and must be described at a certain level of specificity297
. Moreover,
Section 17 of the IPA 2016 requires that any warrant issued under its Chapter 2 must
name or describe the specific person or a group of persons, organisation or premises to
be intercepted (the “target”). In case of a targeted interception warrant or a targeted
examination warrant, these may also relate to a group of persons, more than one
person or organisation, or more than one set of premises (also so called “thematic
warrant”)298. In these cases, the warrant should describe the common purpose or
activity shared by the group of persons or the operation/investigations and name or
describe as many of those persons/organisations or set of premises where it is
reasonably practicable299. Finally, all the warrants issued under Part 2 of the IPA 2016

292 Section 19 of the IPA 2016.
293 On the notion of “interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, so far as those interests
are also relevant for national security”, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights
found in Big Brother Watch and others v United Kingdom (see footnote 268 above), para. 371, that this
notion was sufficiently focused on national security. While the Court’s finding in this case was related
to the use of this notion in the RIPA 2000, the same notion is used in the IPA 2016.
294 Section 20(2) of the IPA 2016.
295 Section 20(3) of the IPA 2016.
296 Sections 19(1)(b), 19(2)(b) and 19(3)(b) of the IPA 2016.
297 The information requested includes the details about the background (description of the
persons/organisations/set of premises, the communication to be intercepted) and how obtaining those
information will benefit the investigation as well as a description of the conduct to be authorised. In
case it is not possible to describe the persons/organisation/premises, an explanation must be included on
why it was not possible or on why only a general description was done (Code of Practice on
Interception of Communications, paragraphs 5.32 and 5.34, see footnote 278).
298 Section 17(2) of the IPA 2016. See also Code of Practice of Interception of Communications,
paragraphs 5.11 and following, see footnote 278.
299 Section 31(4) and (5) of the IPA 2016.EN 58 EN
must specify the addresses, numbers, apparatus, factors, or combination of factors that
are to be used for identifying the communications300. In this respect, the Code of
Practice on Interception of Communications specifies that, in case of a targeted
interception warrant and targeted examination warrant “the warrant must specify (or
describe) the factors or combination of factors that are to be used for identifying the
communications. Where the communications are to be identified by reference to a
telephone number (for example) the number must be specified by being rendered in its
entirety. But where very complex or continually-changing internet selectors are to be
used for identifying the communications, those selectors should be described as far as
possible”301
.
(192) An important safeguard in this context is that the assessment carried out by the
Secretary of State to issue a warrant must be approved by an independent Judicial
Commissioner302 that will notably check whether the decision to issue the warrant
complies with the necessity and proportionality principles303 (on the status and role of
Judicial Commissioners see recitals (251) to (256) below). The IPA 2016 also clarifies
that, when carrying out such check, the Judicial Commissioner must apply the same
principles as would be applied by a court on an application for judicial review304. This
ensure that in each case, and before access to data takes place, compliance with the
principle of necessity and proportionality is systematically check by an independent
body.
(193) The IPA 2016 provides for few specific and narrow exceptions to carry out targeted
interceptions without a warrant. The limited cases are detailed in the law305 and, except
for the one based on the “consent” of the sender/recipient, they are carried out by
persons (private or public bodies) different than national security agencies. Moreover,
this type of interceptions are carried out for purposes different than “intelligence”
gathering306 and for some of them it is very unlikely that the collection can take place
in the context of a “transfer” scenario (for example in case of interception carried out
in psychiatric hospital or in prison). Considering the nature of the body to which these
specific cases apply (different than national security agencies), all the safeguards
provided by Part 2 of the DPA 2018 and the UK GDPR will apply, including the
ICO’s oversight and the available redress mechanisms. Moreover, in addition to the
safeguards provided by the DPA 2018, in certain cases, the IPA 2016 also provides for
the IPCO’s ex post oversight307

300 Section 31(8) of the IPA 2016.
301 Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraphs 5.37 and 5.38, see footnote 278.
302 The approval by a Judicial Commissioner is not required when the Secretary of State considers that
there is an urgent need to issue the warrant (Section 19(1) of the IPA). However, the Judicial
Commissioner needs to be informed in a short period of time and must decide whether to approve or not
the warrant. If it does not, the warrant ceases to have effect (Sections 24 and 25 of the IPA 2016).
303 Section 23(1) of the IPA 2016.
304 Section 23 (2) of the IPA 2016.
305 See sections 44-51 of the IPA 2016 and section 12 of the Interception Communication Code of Practice
(see footnote 278).
306 This is the case, for example, when an interception is needed in prison or in a psychiatric hospital (to
check the conduct of detained person or a patient) or by a postal or a telecommunication operator for
example to detect abusive content.
307 See a contrario Section 229(4) of the IPA.EN 59 EN
(194) When interception is carried out, additional limitations and safeguards are applicable
in light of to the specific status of the person(s) intercepted308. For example, the
interception of items subject to legal privilege is authorised only in presence of
exceptional and compelling circumstances, the person issuing the warrant must give
regard to the public interest in the confidentiality of items subject to legal privilege
and that specific requirements are in place for the handling, retention and disclosure of
such material309
.
(195) Furthermore, the IPA 2016 provides for specific safeguards related to security,
retention and disclosure that the Secretary of State should take into account before
issuing a targeted warrant310. In particular, Section 53(5) of the IPA 2016 requires that
every copy made of any of that material collected under the warrant must be stored in
a secure manner and is destroyed as soon as there are no longer any relevant grounds
for retaining it, while Section 53(2) of the IPA 2016 requires that the number of
persons to whom the material is disclosed and the extent to which any material is
disclosed, made available or copied must be limited to the minimum that is necessary
for the statutory purposes.
(196) Finally, when the material that has been intercepted either by a targeted interception
warrant or by a mutual assistance warrant is to be handed over to a third country
(“overseas disclosures”), the IPA 2016 provides that the Secretary of State must
ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure that similar safeguards on
security, retention and disclosure exist in that third country311. In addition, Section
109(2) of the DPA 2018 provides that intelligence services may only transfer personal
data outside of the United Kingdom territory if the transfer is a necessary and
proportionate measure carried out for the purposes of the controller’s statutory
functions or for other purposes provided for in Section 2(2)(a) of the Security Service
Act 1989 or Sections 2(2)(a) and 4(2)(a)of the Intelligence Services Act 1994312
.
Importantly, these requirements also apply in cases where the national security
exemption pursuant to Section 110 of the DPA 2018 is invoked, as Section 110 of the
DPA 2018 does not list Section 109 of the DPA 2018 as one of the provisions that can
be disapplied if an exemption from certain provisions is required for the purpose of
safeguarding national security.
3.3.1.1.2 Targeted acquisition and retention of communications data

308 Sections 26-29 of the IPA 2016 introduce limitations to obtain targeted interception and examination
warrants in relation to the interception of communications sent by, or intended for, a person who is a
Member of Parliament (any Parliament of the United Kingdom), the interception of items subject to
legal privilege, the interception of communications which the intercepting authority believes will be
communications containing confidential journalistic material, and when the purpose of the warrant is to
identify or confirm a source of journalistic information.
309 Section 26 of the IPA 2016.
310 Section 19(1) of the IPA 2016.
311 Section 54 of the IPA 2016.. Safeguards relating to disclosure of material to foreign authorities are
further specified in the Codes of Practice: see, in particular, paragraphs 9.26 et seq. and 9.87 of the
Code of Practice on the Interception of Communications and paragraphs 9.33 et seq. and 9.41 of the
Code of Practice on Equipment Interference (see footnote 278).
312 These purposes are: for the Security Service the prevention or detection of serious crime or any criminal
proceedings (Section 2(2)(a) of the Security Service Act 1989), for the Intelligence Service the interests
of national security, the prevention or detection of serious crime, or any criminal proceedings (Section
2(2)(a) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994), and for the GCHQ any criminal proceedings (Section
4(2)(a)of the Intelligence Services Act 1994). See also Explanatory notes on DPA 2018, available at the
following link: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/contents/enacted.EN 60 EN
(197) The IPA 2016 permits the Secretary of State to require telecommunications operators
to retain communications data for the purpose of targeted access by a range of public
authorities, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Part 4 of the IPA
2016 provides for the retention of communications data, while Part 3 provides for
targeted acquisition of communications data (TCD). Part 3 and Part 4 of the IPA 2016
also set out specific limitations on the use of these powers and provide for specific
safeguards.
(198) The term “communications data” covers the “who”, “when”, “where” and “how” of a
communication, but not the content, i.e. what was said or written. Different from
interception, the acquisition and retention of communications data is not aimed at
obtaining the content of the communication, but aimed at obtaining information such
as the subscriber to a telephone service or an itemised bill. This could include the time
and duration of communication, the number or email address of the originator and
recipient and sometimes the location of the devices from which the telecommunication
was made313
.
(199) It should be noted that the retention and acquisition of communications data normally
will not concern personal data of EU data subjects transferred under this Decision to
the United Kingdom. The obligation to retain or disclose communications data
pursuant to Part 3 and 4 of the IPA 2016 covers data that is collected by
telecommunication operators in the UK directly from the users of a telecommunication
service314. This type of “customer facing” processing typically does not involve a
transfer on the basis of this Decision, i.e. a transfer from a controller/processor in the
EU to a controller/processor in the United Kingdom.
(200) However, for the sake of completeness, the conditions and safeguards governing these
acquisition and retention regimes are analysed in the following recitals.
(201) As a premise, it must be noted that the retention and the targeted acquisition of
communications data is available both to national security agencies and to certain law

313 Communications data is defined in Section 261(5) to the IPA 2016. Communications data is divided
into “events data” (any data which identifies or describes an event, whether or not by reference to its
location, in or by means of a telecommunication system where the event consists of one or more entities
engaging in a specific activity at a specific time) and “entity data” (any data which (a) is about (i) an
entity, (ii) an association between a telecommunications service and an entity, or (iii) an association
between any part of a telecommunication system and an entity, (b) consists of, or includes, data which
identifies or describes the entity (whether or not by reference to the entity’s location), and (c) is not
events data).
314 This follows from the definition of communications data provided in Section 261(5) of the IPA 2016,
according to which communications data is held or obtained by a telecommunications operator and is
either about the user of a telecommunications service and relating to the provision of this service, or is
comprised in, included as part of, attached to or logically associated with a communication (see also
Code of Practice on Communications Data, available at the following link
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7578
50/Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice.pdf, paragraphs 2.22 to 2.33). Moreover, the definition of
telecommunications operator provided in Section 261(10) of the IPA 2016 requires that a
telecommunications operator is a person who offers or provides a telecommunications service to
persons in the UK or who controls or provides a telecommunication system which is (wholly or partly)
in or controlled from the UK. These definitions make clear that obligations under the IPA 2016 cannot
be imposed on telecommunications operators whose equipment is not in or controlled from the UK and
who do not offer or provide services to persons in the UK (see also Code of Practice on
Communications Data, paragraph 2.1). If EU subscribers (whether located in the EU or in the UK)
made use of services in the UK, any communications in relation to the provision of this service would
be collected directly by the service provider in the UK rather than subject to a transfer from the EU.EN 61 EN
enforcement authorities315. The conditions to require the retention and/or acquisition
of communications data may vary depending on the ground for requesting the
measure, namely a national security or a law enforcement purpose.
(202) In particular, while the new regime has introduced the general requirement of an ex
ante authorization by an independent body that will apply in all cases when
communication data is retained and/or acquired (either for a law enforcement or for a
national security purpose), following the Tele2/Watson judgment of the European
Court of Justice316, specific safeguards have been introduced when the measure is
requested for law enforcement purposes. In particular, when the retention or the
acquisition of communication data is requested for a law enforcement purpose, the ex
ante authorisation must always be given by the Investigatory Power Commissioner.
This is not always the case when the measure is requested for a national security
purpose, since, as described below, in certain cases such type of measures may be
authorised by different “authorising individual”. Moreover, the new regime has raised
to “serious crimes” the threshold for which the retention and the acquisition of
communication data can be permitted317
.
(i) Authorisation for obtaining communications data
(203) According to Part 3 of the IPA 2016, relevant public authorities are authorised to
obtain communications data from a telecommunication operator or any person capable
of obtaining and disclosing such data. The authorisation may not allow the
interception of the content of the communications318 and ceases to have effect after a
period of one month319 with the possibility to be renewed subject to an additional
authorisation320. The acquisition of communications data requires an authorisation by
the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC)321 (on the status and powers of the IPC
see recitals (250) to (251) below). This is always the case when the acquisition of
communication data is requested by a relevant law enforcement authority. However,
according to Section 61 of the IPA 2016, when data is acquired for the interests of
national security or economic well-being of the United Kingdom as long as it is
relevant for national security, or where an application is made by a member of an
intelligence agency under Section 61(7)(b)322, the acquisition may be alternatively323

315 The relevant authorities are listed in the Schedule 4 to the IPA 2016 and they include the police forces,
intelligence services, some ministries and government departments, the National Crime Agency, Her
Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Competition and Markets Authority, Information Commissioner,
ambulance, fire and rescue services and authorities for example in the area of health and food safety.
316 Joined Cases C-203/15 and C-698/15, Tele2/Watson, ECLI:EU:C:2016:970).
317 See section 61.7(b) for the acquisition of communication data and section 87.10A for the retention of
communication data.
318 Section 60A(6) of the IPA 2016.
319 This period is reduced to three days when the authorization is given for reasons of urgency (Section
65(3)A of the IPA 2016).
320 According to Section 65 of the IPA 2016, the renewed authorisation will last for a period of one month
from the date the current authorisation expires. The person who has granted the authorisation can cancel
the authorisation at any time if it considers that the requirements are not anymore satisfied.
321 Section 60A (1) of the IPA 2016. The Office for Communications Data Authorisations (OCDA)
performs this function on behalf of the IPC (see Communication Data Codes of Practice, para. 5.6)
322 The application under Section 61(7)(b) of the IPA 2016 is made for “an applicable crime purpose”
meaning, according to Section 61(7)A of the IPA 2016: “where the communications data is wholly or
partly events data, the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime; in any other case, the purpose
of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder”.EN 62 EN
authorised by the IPC or by a designated senior officer324. The designated officer must
be independent from the investigation or operation concerned and have working
knowledge of human rights principles and legislation, specifically those of necessity
and proportionality325. The decision taken by the designated officer will be subject to
the ex-post oversight carried out by the IPC (see recital (254) below for more details
on ex-post oversight functions of the IPC).
(204) The authorisation to acquire communication data is based on an assessment of
necessity and proportionality of the measure. More specifically, the necessity of the
measure is assessed in light of the grounds listed in the legislation326. Considering the
targeted nature of this measure, it must also be necessary for a specific investigation or
operation327. Further requirements on the assessment of the necessity of the measures
are laid out in the Code of Practice on Communication Data328. In particular, this Code
provides that the application submitted by the requesting authority should identify
three minimum elements to justify the necessity of such request: (i) the event under
investigation such as a crime or location of vulnerable missing person; (ii) the person
whose data is sought, such as a suspect, witness or missing person, and how they are
linked to the event; and (iii) the communications data sought, such as a telephone
number or IP address, and how this data is related to the person and the event329
.
(205) Moreover the acquisition of communication data has to be proportionate to what is
sought to be achieved330. The Code of Practice on Communication Data clarifies that,
in conducting such assessment, the authorising individual should carry out a balancing
exercise between “the extent of the interference with an individual’s rights and
freedoms against a specific benefit to the investigation or operation being undertaken
by a relevant public authority in the public interest” and that taking into account all the
considerations of a particular case, “an interference with the rights of an individual
may still not be justified because the adverse impact on the rights of another individual

323 The Code of Practice on Communication Data specifies that “Where an application relating to national
security could be made under either section 60A or section 61, the decision on which authorisation route
is most appropriate in any given case is a matter for individual public authorities. Public authorities who
wish to use the designated senior officer route should have clear guidelines in place on when this
authorisation route is appropriate” (Code of Practice on Communication Data, paragraph 5. 19,
available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/82281
7/Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice.pdf ).
324 Section 70(3) of the IPA 2016 provides the definition of a “designated officer” which varies depending
on the relevant public authority (as set out in Schedule 4 of the IPA 2016)…
325 Further details on the independence of the designated senior officer are provided in the Communication
Data Code of practice (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraphs 4.12-4.17, see footnote
323).
326 The grounds are: (i) national security; (ii) preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder (in
case of “events data” only serious crime); (iii) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United
Kingdom so far as those interests are also relevant to the interests of national security; (iv) in the
interests of public safety; (v) for the purpose of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person’s
physical or mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person’s physical or mental health;
(vi) to assist investigations into alleged miscarriages of justice or (vii) to identify a dead person or
person unable to identify themselves because of a certain condition (Section 61(7) of the IPA 2016).
327 Section 60A(1)(b) of the IPA 2016.
328 The Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraphs 3.3 and following, see footnote 323.
329 The Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 3.13, see footnote 323.
330 Section 60(1)(c) of the IPA 2016.EN 63 EN
or group of individuals is too severe”. Moreover, in order to specifically assess the
proportionality of the measure, the Code lists a number of elements that should be
included in the application submitted by the requesting authority331. Furthermore,
particular consideration must be given to the type of communication data (“entity” or
“events” data332) to be acquired, and preference must be given to the use of less
intrusive category of data333. The Code of Practice on Communication Data also
contains specific instructions for authorisations involving the communications data of
people in particular professions (such as medical doctors, lawyers, journalists,
parliamentarians, or ministers of religion)334 which are subject to additional
safeguards335
.
(ii) Notice requiring the retention of communication data
(206) Part 4 of the IPA 2016 sets out the rules on retention of communications data, and in
particular the criteria allowing the Secretary of State to issue a retention notice336. The
safeguards introduced by the IPA are the same when the data is retained either for a
law enforcement purpose or in the interest of national security.
(207) The issuance of such retention notices aims at securing that telecommunication
operators retain, for a maximum period of 12 months, relevant communications data
that would otherwise be deleted once no longer required for business purpose337. The
data retained are to remain available for the period required should it subsequently be
necessary for a public authority to acquire it under an authorisation for a targeted
acquisition of communication data provided by Part 3 of the IPA 2016 and described
in recitals (203) to (205).
(208) The exercise of the power to require the retention of certain data is subject to a number
of limitations and safeguards. The Secretary of State can issue a retention notice to one

331 This information to be included must contain: (i) an outline of how obtaining the data will benefit the
investigation or operation; (ii) an explanation of the relevance of time periods requested, including how
these periods are proportionate to the event under investigation; (iii) an explanation of how the level of
intrusion is justified when taking into consideration the benefit the data will give to the investigation
(this justification should include consideration of whether less intrusive investigations could be
undertaken to achieve the objective); (iv) a consideration of the rights (particularly to privacy and, in
relevant cases, freedom of expression) of the individual and a balancing of these rights against the
benefit to the investigation; (v) details of what collateral intrusion may occur and how the time periods
requested impact on the collateral intrusion (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph
3.22-3.26, see footnote 323).
332 See footnote 313.
333 When more intrusive communication data are sought (i.e. events data) the Code specifies that it is more
appropriate to acquire first entity data or to acquire directly events data in limited cases of specific
urgency (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 6.10-6.14, see footnote 323).
334 Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 8.8-8.44, see footnote 323.
335 The Code of Practice specifies that “particular care must be taken by an authorising individual when
considering such applications, including additional consideration of whether there might be unintended
consequences of such applications and whether the public interest is best served by the application”
(Code of Practice on communications data, paragraph 8.8). Furthermore, records must be kept for this
type of applications and at the next inspection, such applications should be marked for the IPC’s
attention (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 8.10, see footnote 323).
336 Sections 87 to 89 of the IPA 2016.
337 Under Section 90 of the IPA 2016, a telecommunication operator to whom a retention notice is given
may ask for a review from the Secretary of State that has issued it.EN 64 EN
or several operators338 only when he/she considers that the requirement to retain data is
necessary for one of the statutory purposes339 and is proportionate to what is sought to
be achieved340. As clarified by the IPA 2016 itself341, before issuing a retention notice,
the Secretary of State must take into account: the likely benefits of the notice342; a
description of the telecommunications services; the appropriateness of limiting the
data to be retained by reference to location, or descriptions of persons to whom
telecommunications services are provided343; the likely number of users (if known) of
any telecommunications service to which the notice relates344; the technical feasibility
of complying with the notice; the likely cost of complying with the notice, and any
other effect of the notice on the telecommunications operator (or description of
operators) to whom it relates345. As further detailed in Chapter 17 of the Code of
Practice on Communications Data, all retention notices need to specify each data type
that needs to be retained and how that data type meets the necessary tests for retention.
(209) In all cases (for both national security and law enforcement purposes) the decision of
the Secretary of State to issue the retention notice must be approved by an independent
Judicial Commissioner under the so-called “double-lock procedure”, who must review
in particular whether the notice to retain relevant communications data is necessary
and proportionate for one or more of the statutory purposes346
.
3.3.1.1.3 Equipment interference

338 Pursuant to Section 87(2)(a) of the IPA 2016 a retention notice may relate “to a particular operator or
any description of operators”.
339 The purposes are (i) the interests of national security; (ii) the applicable crime purpose (as defined in
section 87.10A of the IPA 2016); (iii) the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom
in so far as those interests are also relevant to the interests of national security; (iv) the interests of
public safety; (v) the purpose of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person’s physical or
mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person’s physical or mental health; or (vi) to
assist investigations into alleged miscarriages of justice (Section 87 of the IPA).
340 Section 87 of the IPA 2016. Moreover, according to the relevant Code of Practice, in order to assess the
proportionality of the retention notice, the criteria provided by Section 2(2) of the IPA 2016 apply,
notably the requirement to assess whether what is sought to be achieved by the notice, could reasonably
be achieved by less intrusive means. Similarly to the assessment of proportionality on the acquisition of
communication data, the Code of Practice on Communications Data clarifies that such assessment
involves the “balancing between the extent of the interference with an individual’s right to respect for
their private life against a specific benefit to the investigation (Code of Practice on Communications
Data, paragraph 16.3, see footnote 323).
341 See section 88 of the IPA 2016.
342 The benefits may be existing or projected and must be in respect of the statutory purposes for which the
data can be retained (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 17.17, see footnote 323).
343 These considerations will include determining whether the full geographical reach of the retention
notice is necessary and proportionate and whether it is necessary and proportionate to include or
exclude any particular descriptions of persons (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph
17.17, see footnote 323).
344 This will help the Secretary of State to consider both the level of intrusion on customers but also the
likely benefits of the data to be retained (Code of Practice on Communications Data, paragraph 17.17,
see footnote 323).
345 Section 88 of the IPA 2016.
346 Section 89 of the IPA 2016.EN 65 EN
(210) Equipment interference is a set of techniques used to obtain a variety of data from
equipment347, which includes computers, tablets and smart phones as well as cables,
wires and storage devices348. Equipment interference allows to obtain both the content
of communications and equipment data349
.
(211) In accordance with Section 13(1) of the IPA 2016, the use of equipment interference
by an intelligence service requires an authorisation by means of a warrant under the
“double lock” procedure established by the IPA 2016, provided that there is “a British
Islands connection”350. According to the explanations provided by the United
Kingdom authorities, in situations where data is transferred from the European Union
to the United Kingdom within the scope of this Decision, there would always be a
“British Islands connection” and any equipment interference covering such data would
therefore be subject to the mandatory warrant requirement of Section 13(1) of the IPA
2016351
.
(212) The rules on targeted equipment interference warrants are set out in Part 5 of the IPA
2016. Similarly to targeted interception, targeted equipment interference has to relate
to a specific “target”, which has to be set out in the warrant352. The details on how a

347 Pursuant to Sections 135(1) and 198(1) of the IPA 2016, “equipment” comprises equipment producing
electromagnetic, acoustic or other emissions and any device capable of being used in connection with
such equipment.
348 Code of Practice on Equipment Interference, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71547
9/Equipment_Interference_Code_of_Practice.pdf , paragraph 2.2.
349 Equipment data is defined in Section 100 of the IPA 2016 as system data and data which is (a)
comprised in, included as part of, attached to or logically associated with a communication (whether by
the sender or otherwise) or any other item of information; (b) is capable of being logically separated
from the remainder of the communication or the item of information, and (c) if it were so separated,
would not reveal anything of what might reasonably be considered to be the meaning (if any) of the
communication or the item of information.
350 For the warrant requirement to be mandatory, Section 13(1) of the IPA 2016 also requires that the
conduct of the intelligence service would constitute one or more offences under Sections 1 to 3A of the
Computer Misuse Act 1990, which would be the case in the vast majority of circumstances, see Code of
Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraphs 3.32 and 3.6 to 3.9). Pursuant to Section 13(2) of the
IPA 2016, there is a “British Islands connection” if (a) any of the conduct would take place in the
British Islands (regardless of the location of the equipment which would, or may, be interfered with),
(b) the intelligence service believes that any of the equipment which would, or may, be interfered with
would, or may, be in the British Islands at some time while the interference is taking place, or (c) a
purpose of the interference is to obtain (i) communications sent by, or to, a person who is, or whom the
intelligence service believes to be, for the time being in the British Islands, (ii) private information
relating to an individual who is, or whom the intelligence service believes to be, for the time being in
the British Islands, or (iii) equipment data which forms part of, or is connected with, communications or
private information falling within subparagraph (i) or (ii).
351 For reasons of completeness it should be noted that even in situations where there is no “British Islands
connection” and the use of equipment interference is therefore not subject to the mandatory warrant
requirement of Section 13(1) of the IPA 2016, an intelligence service that plans to engage in activity for
which it is able to obtain a bulk equipment interference warrant should obtain such warrant as a matter
of policy (see Code of Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraph 3.24). Even where an equipment
interference warrant under the IPA 2016 is neither legally required nor obtained as a matter of policy,
actions of the intelligence services are subject to a number of conditions and limitations under Section 7
of the Intelligence Services Act 1994. This includes notably the requirement of an authorisation by the
Secretary of State, who must be satisfied that any action does not go beyond what is necessary for the
proper discharge of the functions of the Intelligence Service.
352 Section 115 of the IPA 2016 regulates the content of the warrant, specifying that it needs to include the
name or description of persons, organisations, location or group of persons that constitute the “target”, a EN 66 EN
“target” must be identified depend on the matter and the type of equipment to be
interfered. In particular Section 115(3) of the IPA specifies the elements that should be
included in the warrant (e.g. name of the person or organisation, description of the
location), depending for example on whether the interference concerns an equipment
that belongs, is used to or is in possession of a particular person or an organisation or a
group of person, is in a specific location etc.353
. The purposes for which targeted
equipment interference warrants can be issued depends on the public authority
applying for it354
.
(213) Similarly to targeted interception, the issuing authority needs to consider whether the
measure is necessary to achieve a specific purpose and whether it is proportionate to
what is sought to be achieved355. Moreover, it should also consider whether safeguards
exist in relation to security, retention and disclosure as well as in relation to “overseas
disclosure”356 (see recital (196)).
(214) The warrant has to be approved by a Judicial Commissioner, except in cases of
urgency357. In the latter case, a Judicial Commissioner has to be informed that a
warrant has been issued and must approve it within three working days. In case the
Judicial Commissioner refuses to approve it, the warrant ceases to have affect and may
not be renewed358. Moreover, the Judicial Commissioner has the power to require that
any data that was obtained under the warrant is deleted359. The fact that a warrant was
issued urgently does not impact ex post oversight (see recitals (244) to (255)) or the
possibilities for individuals to seek redress (see recitals (260) to (270)). Individuals
can complain to the ICO or make a claim regarding any alleged conduct to the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the usual way. In all cases, the test applied by the
Judicial Commissioner when deciding whether or not to approve a warrant is the

description of the nature of the investigation and a description of the activities for which the equipment
is used. It must also describe the type of equipment and the conduct which the person to whom the
warrant is addressed is authorised to take.
353 See also the Code of Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraph 5.7, see footnote 348.
354 National security agencies can apply for an equipment interference warrant when necessary for national
security purposes, for the purpose of detecting serious crime and/or in the interests of the economic
well-being of the United Kingdom in so far as those interests are also relevant for the interests of
national security (Section 102-103 of the IPA 2016). Depending on the agency, an equipment
interference warrant may be requested for a law enforcement purpose when it is necessary for detecting
or preventing a serious crime or for the purpose of preventing death or any injury or damage to a
person’s physical or mental health or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person’s physical or mental
health (see Section 106(1) and 106(3) of the IPA 2016).
355 Section 102(1) of the IPA 2016.
356 Sections 129 – 131 of the IPA 2016.
357 Section 109 of the IPA 2016.
358 Section 109(4) of the IPA 2016.
359 Section 110(3)(b) of the IPA 2016. Pursuant to the Code of Practice on Equipment Interference,
paragraph 5.67, urgency is determined by whether it would be reasonably practicable to seek the
Judicial Commissioner’s approval to issue the warrant in the time available to meet an operational or
investigative need. Urgent warrants should fall into one or both of the following categories: (i)
imminent threat to life or serious harm – for example, if an individual has been kidnapped and it is
assessed that their life is in imminent danger; or (ii) an intelligence-gathering or investigative
opportunity with limited time to act – for example, a consignment of Class A drugs is about to enter the
UK and law enforcement agencies want to have coverage of the perpetrators of serious crime in order to
effect arrests. See footnote 348.EN 67 EN
necessity and proportionality test as applicable to requests for targeted interception360
(see recital (192) above).
(215) Finally, specific safeguards applicable to targeted interception apply also to equipment
interference as regards the duration, renewal, and modification of the warrant as well
as the interception of Members of Parliament, of items subject to legal privilege and of
journalistic material (see further details in recital (193)).
3.3.1.1.4 Exercise of bulk powers
(216) Bulk powers are regulated in Part 6 of the IPA 2016. Moreover, the Codes of practice
provide for more details on the use of bulk powers. While there is no definition in
United Kingdom law of ‘bulk power’, in the context of the IPA 2016 it has been
described as the collection and retention of large quantities of data acquired by the
Government through various means (i.e. the powers of bulk interception, bulk
acquisition, bulk equipment interference and bulk personal datasets) and which can
subsequently be accessed by the authorities. This description is clarified by contrasting
it to what ‘bulk power’ is not: it does not equate to so-called “mass surveillance”
without limitations or safeguards. On the contrary, as explained below, it incorporates
limitations and safeguards designed to ensure that access to data is not given on an
indiscriminate or unjustified basis361
. In particular, bulk powers can only be used if a
link is established between the technical measure that a national intelligence agency
intends to use and the operational objective for which such measure is requested.
(217) Moreover, bulk powers are available to intelligence agencies only and are always
subject to a warrant issued by the Secretary of State and approved by a Judicial
Commissioner. In choosing the means to collect intelligence, regards must be given to
whether the objective in question can be sought by “less intrusive means”362. This
approach follows from the framework of the legislation which is built on the principle
of proportionality and therefore prioritises targeted over bulk collection.
3.3.1.1.4.1 Bulk interception and bulk equipment interference
(218) The regime for bulk interception is provided in Chapter 1 of Part 6 of the IPA 2016
while Chapter 3 of the same Part regulates bulk equipment interference. These regimes
are substantially the same, so the conditions and additional safeguards applicable to
those warrants are analysed together.
(i) Conditions and criteria for the issuance of the warrant

360 Section 108 of the IPA 2016.
361 According to the Report on bulk powers presented by Lord David Anderson, independent reviewer of
terrorism legislation ahead of the approval of the IPA 2016, “it should be plain that the collection and
retention of data in bulk does not equate to so-called “mass surveillance”. Any legal system worth the
name will incorporate limitations and safeguards designed precisely to ensure that access to stores of
sensitive data (…) is not given on an indiscriminate or unjustified basis. Such limitations and
safeguards certainly exist in the Bill. Lord David Anderson, Report of the bulk power review, August
2016, paragraph 1.9 (emphasis added), available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/54692
5/56730_Cm9326_WEB.PDF
362 Section 2.2. of the IPA 2016. See for example the Code of Practice on Bulk Acquisition of
Communications Data, paragraph 4.11, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71547
7/Bulk_Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice.pdfEN 68 EN
(219) A bulk interception warrant is limited to the interception of communications in the
course of their transmission sent or received by individuals who are outside the British
Islands363, so-called “overseas-related communications”364 , as well as other relevant
data and the subsequent selection for examination of the intercepted material365. A
bulk equipment interference warrant366 authorises the addressee to secure interference
with any equipment for the purpose of obtaining overseas-related communications
(including anything comprising speech, music, sounds, visual images or data of any
description), equipment data (data that enables or facilitates a functioning of a postal
service; a telecommunication system; telecommunications service) or any other
information367
.
(220) The Secretary of State can issue a bulk warrant only on an application made by a head
of an intelligence service368. A warrant authorising a bulk interception or a bulk
equipment interference must be issued only if necessary for the interest of national
security and for a further purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime, or the
interest of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom when relevant for national
security369. Moreover, Section 142(7) of the IPA 2016 requires that a bulk interception
warrant must be specified in a greater detailed than the simple reference to the
“interests of national security”, the “economic wellbeing of the UK” and of
“preventing and combating serious crime” but a link must be established between the
measure to be sought and one or more operational purpose/s that must be included in
the warrant.
(221) The choice of the operational purpose is a result of a multi-layer process. Section
142(4) provides that the operational purposes specified in the warrant must be

363 The “British Islands” constitute the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and are
defined in Schedule 1 to the Interpretation Act 1978, available at the following link
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/schedule/1.
364 According to Section 136 of the IPA 2016, “overseas-related communications” means: (i)
communications sent by individuals who are outside the British Islands, or (ii) communications
received by individuals who are outside the British Islands. This regime, as confirmed by the UK
authorities, also covers communications between two persons that are both outside the British Islands.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Big Brother Watch and others v United
Kingdom (see footnote 279 above), para. 376, found, with respect to a similar limitation (referring to
“external communications”) of the communications that can be captured by bulk interception under the
RIPA 2000, that it was sufficiently delimited and foreseeable.
365 Section 136(4) of the IPA 2016. According to the explanations received from the UK government, bulk
interception can be used, for example, to identify previously unknown threats to the national security of
the UK, by filtering and analysing intercepted material in order to identify communications of
intelligence value (The UK Explanatory Framework section H: National security, p. 27 – 28, see
footnote 29). As explained by the UK authorities, such instruments can be used to establish links
between known subjects of interest as well as to search for traces of activity by individuals who may not
yet be known but who surface in the course of an investigation, and to identify patterns of activity that
may indicate a threat to the United Kingdom.
366 In accordance with Section 13(1) of the IPA 2016, the use of equipment interference by an intelligence
service requires an authorisation by means of a warrant under the IPA 2016, provided that there is “a
British Islands connection”, see recital (211).
367 Section 176 of the IPA 2016. A bulk equipment interference warrant may not authorise a conduct,
which would (unless done with lawful authority) constitute unlawful interception (except in relation to a
stored communication). According to the UK Explanatory Framework, the information obtained could
be necessary for the identification of subjects of interest and would be usually appropriate large-scale
operations (The UK Explanatory Framework, section H: National security p. 28, see footnote 29).
368 Section 138(1) and 178(1) of the IPA 2016.
369 Section 138 (2) and 178(2) of the IPA 2016.EN 69 EN
specified in a list maintained by the heads of the intelligence services, as purposes
which they consider are operational purposes for which intercepted content or
secondary data obtained under bulk interception warrants may be selected for
examination. The list of operational purposes must be approved by the Secretary of
State. The Secretary of State may give such approval only if satisfied that the
operational purpose is specified in a greater level of detail than the general grounds for
authorising the warrant (national security or national security and economic well-being
or preventing serious crime)370. At the end of each relevant three-month period, the
Secretary of State must give a copy of the list of operational purposes to the
Parliamentary ISC. Finally, the Prime Minister must review the list of operational
purposes at least once a year371. As noted by the High Court, “[t]hese are not to be
belittled as insignificant safeguards, as they build together an intricate set of modes of
accountability, which involve Parliament as well as members of the government at the
highest level”372
.
(222) Such operational purposes also limit the scope of the selection of the interception
material for the examination stage. The selection for examination of any material
collected under the bulk warrant must be justified in light of the operational purpose/s.
As explained by the United Kingdom authorities, this means that practical
arrangements on examination must be assessed by the Secretary of State already at the
stage of the warrant, providing sufficient details to fulfil the statutory duties under
section 152 and 193 of the IPA 2016373. The details given to the Secretary of State in
relation to those arrangements would need to include for example, information (if
applicable) on how filtering arrangements might vary during the time that a warrant
will have effect374. For more details on the process and the safeguards applied to the
filtering and examination phases, see recital (229) below.
(223) A bulk power can be authorised only if it is proportionate to what is sought to be
achieved375. As specified in the Code of Practice on Interception, any assessment of
proportionality involves “balancing the seriousness of the intrusion into the privacy
(and other considerations set out in section 2(2)) against the need for the activity in
investigative, operational or capability terms. The conduct authorised should offer a
realistic prospect of bringing the expected benefit and should not be disproportionate
or arbitrary”376. As already mentioned, this means in practice that the proportionality
test is based on a balance test between what is sought to be achieved (“operational
purpose/s”) and the technical options available (e.g. targeted or bulk interception,
equipment interference, acquisition of communication data), giving preference to the
least intrusive means (see recitals (181) and (182) above). When more than one
measure is appropriate to the objective, the less intrusive means must be preferred.

370 According to the explanations provided by the UK authorities, for example, an operational purpose may
limit the scope of the measure to the existence of a threat in a specific geographical area.
371 Section 142(4)-(10) of the IPA 2016.
372 High Court of Justice, Liberty, [2019] EWHC 2057 (Admin), paragraph 167.
373 Sections 152 and 193 of the IPA 2016 require that: (a) the selection for examination is carried out only
for the operational purposes specified in the warrant, (b) the selection for examination is necessary and
proportionate in all the circumstances, and (c) the selection for examination does not breach the
prohibition of selecting material and identify communications that have been sent by or are intended for
individuals known to be in the British Islands at that time.
374 See Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 6.6, see footnote 278.
375 Sections 138(1)(b) and (c) and Sections 178(b) and (c) of the IPA 2016.
376 Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 4.10, see footnote 278.EN 70 EN
(224) An additional safeguard on the assessment of the proportionality of the measure
requested is ensured by the fact that the Secretary of State must receive the relevant
information needed to properly carry out his/her assessment. In particular, the Code of
Practice on Interception and the Code of Practice on Equipment Interference require
that the application submitted by the relevant authority should mention the background
of the application, the description of communications to be intercepted and the
telecommunications operators required to assist, the description of the conduct to be
authorised, the operational purposes, and an explanation on why the conduct is
necessary and proportionate377
.
(225) Finally and importantly, the Secretary of State’s decision to issue the warrant must be
approved by an independent Judicial Commissioner that assesses the evaluation of the
necessity and proportionality of the proposed measure, using the same principles that
would be used by a court in an application for judicial review378. More specifically, the
Judicial Commissioner will review the Secretary of State’s conclusions as to whether
the warrant is necessary and whether the conduct is proportionate in the light of the
principles set in Section 2(2) of the IPA 2016 (general duties in relation to privacy).
The Judicial Commissioner will also review the Secretary of State’s conclusions as to
whether each of the operational purposes specified on the warrant is a purpose for
which selection is, or may be, necessary. If the Judicial Commissioner refuses to
approve the decision to issue a warrant the Secretary of State may either: (i) accept the
decision and therefore not issue the warrant; or (ii) refer the matter to the Investigatory
Powers Commissioner for a decision (unless the Investigatory Powers Commissioner
has made the original decision)379
.
(ii) Additional safeguards
(226) The IPA 2016 has introduced further limits on the duration, renewal and modification
of a bulk warrant. The warrant must have a duration of a maximum of six months and
any decision to renew or modify (except minor modifications) the warrant must be
also approved by a Judicial Commissioner380. The Code of Practice on Interception
and the Code of Practice on Equipment Interference specified that a change in the

377 Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 6.20, see footnote 278, and Code of
Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraph 6.13, see footnote 348.
378 Section 138(1)(g) and 178(1)(f) of the IPA 2016. Prior authorisation by an independent body has been
notably identified by the European Court of Human Rights as an important safeguard against abuse in
the context of bulk interception. European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber), Big Brother
Watch and others v United Kingdom, (see footnote 269 above), paras. 351 and 352. It is important to
bear in mind that this judgment concerned the previous legal framework (RIPA 2000) that did not
contain some of the safeguards (including prior authorisation by an independent Judicial Commissioner)
introduced by the IPA 2016.
379 Section 159 (3) and (4) of the IPA 2016.
380 Sections 143 – 146, and 184 – 188 of the IPA 2016. In case of an urgent modification the Secretary of
State can make the modification without an approval, but must notify the Commissioner and the
Commissioner must then decide whether to approve or refuse the modification (Section 147 of the IPA
2016). The warrants must be cancelled, where the warrant is no longer necessary or proportionate, or
that the examination of intercepted content, metadata or other data obtained under the warrant is no
longer necessary for any of the operational purposes specified on the warrant (Section 148, and 189 of
the IPA 2016).EN 71 EN
operational purposes of the warrant is considered as a major modification of the
warrant381
.
(227) Similar to what is provided for targeted interception, Part 6 of the IPA 2016 provides
that the Secretary of State must ensure that arrangements are in force to provide
safeguards on the retention and disclosure of material obtained under the warrant382.
,
as well as for overseas disclosure383. In particular, Sections 150(5) and 191(5) of the
IPA 2016 require that every copy made of any of that material collected under the
warrant must be stored in a secure manner and is destroyed as soon as there are no
longer any relevant grounds for retaining it, while Sections 150(2) and 191(2) require
that the number of persons to whom the material is disclosed and the extent to which
any material is disclosed, made available or copied must be limited to the minimum
that is necessary for the statutory purposes384
.
(228) Finally, when the material that has been intercepted either through a bulk interception
or a bulk equipment interference is to be handed over to a third country (“overseas
disclosures”), the IPA 2016 provides that the Secretary of State must ensure that
appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure that similar safeguards on security,
retention and disclosure exist in that third country385. In addition, Section 109 of the
DPA 2018 sets out specific requirements for international transfers of personal data by
intelligence services to third countries or international organisations, and does not
allow data to be transferred to a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or to
an international organisation, unless the transfer is necessary and proportionate for the
purpose of the controller’s statutory functions or for other purposes provided for in
Section 2(2)(a) of the Security Service Act 1989 or Sections 2(2)(a) and 4(2)(a)of the
Intelligence Services Act 1994386. Importantly, these requirements also apply in cases
where the national security exemption pursuant to Section 110 of the DPA 2018 is
invoked, as Section 110 of the DPA 2018 does not list Section 109 of the DPA 2018 as
one of the provisions that can be disapplied if an exemption from certain provisions is
required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
(229) Once the warrant has been approved and the data has been collected in bulk, the data
will be subject to a selection before being examined. The selection and examination
phase is subject to a further proportionality test carried out by the analyst that defines,
on the basis of the operational purposes included in the warrant (and potentially
existing filtering arrangements) the criteria for selection. As provided by sections 152
and 193 of the IPA, when issuing the warrant the Secretary of State must ensure that
arrangements are in place to guarantee that the selection of the material is carried out
only for the specified operational purposes and that it is necessary and proportionate in
all circumstances. In this respect, the United Kingdom authorities clarified that the
material intercepted in bulk is selected, first of all, via automated filtering with the aim

381 Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 6.44-6.47, see footnote 278, and Code
of Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraph 6.48, see footnote 348.
382 Section 156 of the IPA 2016.
383 Sections 150 and 191 of the IPA 2016.
384 The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Big Brother Watch and others v United
Kingdom (see footnote 268 above) upheld the system of additional safeguards for retention, access and
disclosure that was provided under the RIPA 2000, see paragraphs 392-394 and 402-405. The same
system of safeguards is provided by the IPA 2016.
385 Sections 151 and 192 of the IPA 2016.
386 For more information on these purposes, see footnote 312.EN 72 EN
to discard data that is unlikely to be of national security interest. The filters will vary
from time to time (as internet traffic patterns, types and protocols change) and will
depend on the technology and operational context. After this phase, the data can be
selected for examination only if relevant for the operational purposes specified in the
warrant387. The safeguards provided by the IPA 2016 for the examination of the
material collected apply to any type of data (both intercepted content and secondary
data)388. Section 152 and 193 of the IPA 2016 also provide for a general prohibition to
select for examination material referring to conversations sent by or intended to
individuals who are in the British Islands. If the authorities wish to examine such
material, they would submit a request for a targeted examination warrant under Part 2
and Part 4 of the IPA 2016, issued by the Secretary of State and approved by a Judicial
Commissioner389. If a person deliberately selects intercepted content for examination
in breach of the requirements set in the legislations390 he or she commits a criminal
offence391
.
(230) The assessment carried out by the analyst over the selection of the material is subject
to an ex post oversight by the IPC who evaluates the compliance with the specific
safeguards set in the IPA 2016 for the examination phase392 (see also recital (229)).
The IPC must keep under review (including by way of audit, inspection and
investigation) the exercise by public authorities of the investigatory powers mentioned
in the IPA 2016393. In this respect, the Code of Practice on Interception and the Code
of Practice on Equipment Interference clarify that records must be kept by the agency
for purposes of subsequent examination and audits, and these records must outline
why access to the material by authorised persons is necessary and proportionate and
the applicable operational purposes394. For example, in its 2018 Annual report the
Investigatory Powers Commissioner Office (IPCO)395 concluded that the justifications

387 The Codes on interception of communications specifies, in this respect that “These processing systems
process data from the communications links or signals that the intercepting authority has chosen to
intercept. A degree of filtering is then applied to the traffic on those links and signals, designed to select
types of communications of potential intelligence value whilst discarding those least likely to be of
intelligence value. As a result of this filtering, which will vary between processing systems, a
significant proportion of the communications on these links and signals will be automatically discarded.
Further complex searches may then take place to draw out further communications most likely to be of
greatest intelligence value, which relate to the agency’s statutory functions. These communications may
then be selected for examination for one or more of the operational purposes specified in the warrant
where the conditions of necessity and proportionality are met. Only items which have not been filtered
out can potentially be selected for examination by authorised persons” (Codes of practice on
interception of communications, paragraph 6.6, see footnote 278).
388 See section 152(1) (a) and (b) of the IPA 2016 according to which the examination of both type of data
(intercepted content and secondary data) must be carried out only for the specified purpose and be
necessary and proportionate in all circumstances.
389 This type of warrant is not required when the data related to individuals who are in the British Island
are “secondary data” (see section 152(1) (c) of the IPA 2016)
390 Section 152 and 193 of the IPA 2016.
391 Section 155 and 196 of the IPA 2016.
392 Section 152 and 193 of the IPA 2016.
393 Section 229 of the IPA 2016.
394 Code of Practice on Interception of Communications, paragraph 6.74, see footnote 278 and Code of
Practice on Equipment Interference, paragraph 6.78, see footnote 348.
395 The IPCO is constituted under Section 238 of the IPA 2016 to provide the IPC with necessary staff,
accommodation, equipment and other facilities and services necessary for the carrying out of his/her
functions (see recital (251))EN 73 EN
recorded by the analysts for the examination of certain material collected in bulk met
the required standard of proportionality, by providing sufficient details of the reasons
of their “queries” in relation to the purpose to be achieved396. In its 2019 report, the
IPCO, in relation to bulk powers, clearly stated its intention to continue the inspections
of bulk interceptions, including a detailed examination of the selectors and search
criteria397. It will also continue to scrutinise carefully, on a case-by-case basis, the
choice of surveillance measures (targeted v. bulk) both during its consideration of
warrant applications under the double lock and at inspections398. This further
monitoring will be duly taken into account in the context of the Commission’s
monitoring of this Decision referred to in recitals (281)-(284).
3.3.1.1.4.2 Bulk acquisition of communications data
(231) Chapter 2 of Part 6 of the IPA 2016 regulates bulk acquisition warrants that authorise
the addressee to require a telecommunications operator to disclose or obtain any
communications data in the possession of the operator. These warrants also authorize
the requesting authority to select the data for the further phase of the examination. As
it is the case for targeted retention and acquisition of communications data (see recital
(199)), also the bulk acquisition of communications data does normally not concern
personal data of EU data subjects transferred under this Decision to the United
Kingdom. The obligation to disclose communications data pursuant to Chapter 2 of
Part 6 of the IPA 2016 covers data that is collected by telecommunication operators in
the United Kingdom directly from the users of a telecommunication service399. This
type of “customer facing” processing typically does not involve a transfer on the basis
of this Decision, i.e. a transfer from a controller/processor in the EU to a
controller/processor in the United Kingdom.
(232) However, for the sake of completeness the conditions and safeguards governing the
acquisition of bulk communications data are described below.

396 The IPCO Annual Report of 2018 specified that the justifications recorded by the analysts of the GCHQ
“were meeting the required standard and analysts were accounting for the proportionality of their
queries of bulk data in sufficient detail”. Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner
2018, paragraph 6.22, see footnote 464.
397 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner 2019, paragraph 7.6, see footnote 463.
398 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner 2019, paragraph 10.22, see footnote 463.
399 This follows from the definition of communications data provided in Section 261(5) of the IPA 2016,
according to which communications data is held or obtained by a telecommunications operator and is
either about the user of a telecommunications service and relating to the provision of this service, or is
comprised in, included as part of, attached to or logically associated with a communication (see also
Code of Practice on Bulk Acquisition of Communications Data, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7154
77/Bulk_Communications_Data_Code_of_Practice.pdf paragraphs 2.15 to 2.22). Moreover, the
definition of telecommunications operator provided in Section 261(10) of the IPA 2016 requires that a
telecommunications operator is a person who offers or provides a telecommunications service to
persons in the UK or who controls or provides a telecommunication system which is (wholly or partly)
in or controlled from the UK. These definitions make clear that obligations under the IPA 2016 cannot
be imposed on telecommunications operators whose equipment is not in or controlled from the UK and
who do not offer or provide services to persons in the UK (see also Code of Practice on Bulk
Acquisition of Communications Data, paragraph 2.2). If EU subscribers (whether located in the EU or
in the UK) made use of services in the UK, any communications in relation to the provision of this
service would be collected directly by the service provider in the UK rather than subject to a transfer
from the EU.EN 74 EN
(233) The IPA 2016 replaces the legislation concerning the acquisition of bulk
communications data which was the subject of the CJEU judgment in the Privacy
International case. The legislation at issue in that case was repealed and the new
regime provides for specific conditions and safeguards under which such measure can
be authorised.
(234) In particular, differently from the previous regime under which the Secretary of State
had full discretion in authorising the measure400, the IPA 2016 requires the Secretary
of State to issue a warrant only if the measure is necessary and proportionate. This
means in practice that there should be a link between the access to the data and the aim
pursued401. More specifically, the Secretary of State will have to assess the existence
of a link between the measure requested and one or more “operational purpose/s”
indicated in the warrant (see recital (219)) respect to the assessment of the
proportionality, the relevant Code of Practice specifies that “the Secretary of State
must take into account whether what is sought to be achieved by the warrant could
reasonably be achieved by other less intrusive means (Section 2(2)(a) of the Act). For
example, obtaining the required information through a less intrusive power such as the
targeted acquisition of communications data”402
.
(235) To conduct such assessment, the Secretary of State will rely on information that the
heads of intelligence403 are required to submit in their application, such as the reasons
why the measure is considered to be necessary for one of the statutory grounds and the
reasons why what is sought to be achieved could not reasonably be achieved by other
less intrusive means404. Moreover, the operational purposes limit the scope for which
data obtained under the warrant can be selected for examination405. As specified in the
relevant Code of Practice, the operational purposes must describe a clear requirement
and contain sufficient detail to satisfy the Secretary of State that acquired data may
only be selected for examination for specific reasons406. In fact, the Secretary of State
will have to ensure, before authorising the warrant, that specific arrangements are in
place for securing that only that material which has been considered necessary for
examination for an operational purpose and a statutory purpose is selected for the
examination and should be proportionate and necessary in all circumstances. This
specific requirement, reflected in sections 158 and 172407 of the IPA 2016, regarding
the prior assessment of the necessity and proportionality of the criteria used for the

400 Section 94(1) of the Telecommunication Act 1984 provided that the Secretary of State could issue
“directions of a general character as appear to the Secretary of State to be requisite or expedient in the
interests of national security (…)” (see footnote 451).
401 See Privacy International, paragraph 78
402 See Code of Practice on Bulk Acquisition of Communications Data, paragraph 4.11, (see footnote
399414).
403 A bulk acquisition warrant may be requested only by the heads of the intelligences services which are:
(i) the Director General of the Security Service; (ii) the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service; or (iii)
the Director of the GCHQ (see section 158 and 263 of the IPA 2016).
404 Code of practice on bulk acquisition of communications data, paragraph 4.5 (see footnote 399).
405 According to section 161 of the IPA 2016, the operational purposes specified in the warrant must be
ones specified, in a list maintained by the heads of the intelligence services (“the list of operational
purposes”), as purposes which they consider are operational purposes for which communications data
obtained under bulk acquisition warrants may be selected for examination.
406 Code of Practice on Bulk Acquisition of Communications Data, paragraph 6.6 (see footnote 399).
407 Section 172 of the IPA 2016 requires that specific safeguards must be put in place for the phase of
filtering and selection for the examination of communication acquired in bulk. Moreover, a deliberate
examination in breach of these safeguards is also a criminal offense (see section 173 of the IPA 2016).EN 75 EN
purposes of selection represents another important novelty of the regime introduced by
the IPA 2016 compared to the regime previously in place.
(236) The IPA 2016 also introduced the obligation on the Secretary of State, to ensure that,
before issuing the warrant for the bulk acquisition of communications data specific
limitations are in place on the security, the retention and the disclosure of the personal
data collected408. In case of overseas disclosure, the safeguards, described in recital
(227), for bulk interception and bulk equipment interference apply also in this
context409. Further limits are set out in the legislation on the duration410, renewal411
and modification of the bulk warrants412
.
(237) Importantly, as for the other bulk powers, before issuing the warrant, the Secretary of
State needs get the approval by a Judicial Commissioner413. This is a key feature of the
regime put in place by the IPA 2016.
(238) The IPC carries out an ex post oversight on the examination procedure over the
material (communication data) acquired in bulk (see recital (254) below). In that
respect, the IPA 2016 introduced the requirement that the intelligence analyst carrying
out the examination, has to record, prior to selecting the data for examination, the
reason why the proposed examination is necessary and proportionate for a specified
operational purpose414. In the IPCO Annual Report 2019 it was found with respect to
GCHQ’s and MI5’s practice that “the critical role of bulk communications data (BCD)
to the range of activities conducted at GCHQ was well articulated in the casework we
inspected. We considered the nature of the requested data and the stated intelligence
requirements and were satisfied that the documentation demonstrated that their
approach was necessary and proportionate”415. MI5’s recorded justifications were of a
good standard and satisfied the principles of necessity and proportionality”416
.
3.3.1.1.4.3 Retention and examination of bulk personal datasets
(239) Bulk Personal Dataset (BPD) warrants417 authorise intelligence agencies to retain and
examine sets of data that contain personal data relating to a number of individuals.
According to the explanations provided by the United Kingdom authorities, the
analysis of such datasets can be “the only way for UKIC to progress investigations and
identify terrorists from very limited lead intelligence, or when their communications
have been deliberately concealed”418. There are two types of warrants: “class BPD
warrants”419 which concern a certain category of datasets, i.e. datasets which are
similar in their content and proposed use and raise similar considerations as to, for
instance, the degree of intrusion and sensitivity and the proportionality of using the

408 Section 171 of the IPA 2016.
409 Section 171 (9) of the IPA 2016.
410 Section 162 of the IPA 2016.
411 Section 163 of the IPA 2016.
412 Section, 164 – 166 of the IPA 2016.
413 Section 159 of the IPA 2016.
414 IPCO Annual Report 2019, paragraph 8.6, see footnote 463.
415 IPCO Annual Report 2019, paragraph 10.4, see footnote 463.
416 IPCO Annual Report 2019, paragraph 8.37, see footnote 463.
417 Section 200 of the IPA 2016.
418 The UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H: National Security, page 34, see
footnote 29.
419 Section 204 of the IPA 2016.EN 76 EN
data, therefore allowing the Secretary of State to consider the necessity and
proportionality of acquiring all data within the relevant class all at once. For example,
a class BPD warrant may cover travel datasets that relate to similar routes420. “Specific
BPD warrants”421 instead concern one specific dataset, such as a dataset of a novel or
unusual type of information which does not fall within an existing class BPD warrant,
or a dataset that concerns specific types of personal data422 and therefore requires
additional safeguards423. The provisions of the IPA 2016 relating to BPDs allow such
datasets to be examined and retained only where it is necessary and proportionate to
do so424, and in line with the general obligations relating to privacy425
.
(240) The power to issue a BPD warrant is subject to the “double lock” procedure: the
assessment of the necessity and proportionality of the measure is first carried out by
the Secretary of State and then by the Judicial Commissioner426. The Secretary of State
is required to consider the nature and scope of the type of warrant being sought, the
category of data concerned and the number of individual bulk personal datasets likely
to fall within the specific type of warrant427. Also, as specified in the Code of Practice
on Intelligence Services’ Retention and Use of Bulk Personal Datasets, detailed
records are to be kept and are subject to IPC audit428. Retaining and examining BPD
outside the limits of the IPA 2016 is a criminal offense429
.
3.3.2 Further use of the information collected
(241) Personal data processed under Part 4 of the DPA 2018 must not be processed in a
manner that is incompatible with the purpose for which it was collected430. The DPA
2018 provides that the controller can process the data for another purpose, different
from that for which the data was collected, when it is compatible with the original one
and provided that the controller is authorised by law to process the data and that

420 Code of Practice on Intelligence Services’ Retention and Use of Bulk Personal Datasets, paragraph 4.7,
available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71547
8/Bulk_Personal_Datasets_Code_of_Practice.pdf
421 Section 205 of the IPA 2016.
422 Such as, for example, sensitive personal data, see Section 202 of the IPA 2016 and Code of Practice on
Intelligence Services’ Retention and Use of Bulk Personal Datasets, paragraphs 4.21 and 4.12, see
footnote 469.
423 An application for a specific BPD warrant must be considered individually by the Secretary of State, i.e.
with respect to one specific dataset. The intelligence service is required by Section 205 of the IPA to
include in its application for a specific BPD warrant a detailed explanation of the nature and extent of
the material in question and a list of the “operational purposes” for which the relevant intelligence
service wishes to examine the BPD (where the intelligence service seeks a warrant for retention and
examination, rather than retention only). When issuing a class BPD warrant, the Secretary instead
considers the whole category of datasets at once.
424 Section 204 and Section 205 of the IPA 2016.
425 Section 2 of the IPA 2016.
426 Sections 204 and 205 of the IPA 2016.
427 Code of Practice on Intelligence Services’ Retention and Use of Bulk Personal Datasets, paragraph 5.2,
see footnote 420.
428 Code of Practice on Intelligence Services’ Retention and Use of Bulk Personal Datasets, paragraphs
8.1-8.15, see footnote 420.
429 The UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H: National Security, page 34, see
footnote29.
430 Section 87(1) of DPA 2018.EN 77 EN
processing is necessary and proportionate431
. Moreover, the Security Service Act 1989
and the Intelligence Services Act 1994 specify that the heads of the intelligence
agencies have the duty to ensure that no information is obtained or disclosed except so
far as necessary for the proper discharge of the agency functions or for the other
limited and specific purposes listed in the relevant provisions432
.
(242) In addition, Section 109 of the DPA 2018 sets out specific requirements for
international transfers of personal data by intelligence services to third countries or
international organisations. According to this provision, personal data is not allowed to
be transferred to a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or to an
international organisation, unless the transfer is necessary and proportionate for the
purpose of the controller’s statutory functions or for other purposes provided for in
Section 2(2)(a) of the Security Service Act 1989 or Sections 2(2)(a) and 4(2)(a)of the
Intelligence Services Act 1994433. Importantly, these requirements also apply in cases
where the national security exemption pursuant to Section 110 of the DPA 2018 is
invoked, as Section 110 of the DPA 2018 does not list Section 109 of the DPA 2018 as
one of the provisions that can be disapplied if an exemption from certain provisions is
required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
(243) Moreover, as stressed by the ICO in its guidance on intelligence services processing,
in addition to the safeguards provided by Part 4 of the DPA 2018, an intelligence
agency, when sharing data with a third country intelligence body, is also subject to
safeguards provided by other legislative measures applying to them to ensure that
personal data is obtained, shared and handled lawfully and responsibly434. For
example, the IPA 2016 sets out further safeguards in relation to transfers to a third
country of material collected through targeted interception435, targeted equipment
interference436, bulk interception437, bulk acquisition of communications data438 and
bulk equipment interference439 (so-called “overseas disclosures”). In particular, the
authority issuing the warrant must ensure that arrangements are in force for securing
that the third country receiving the data limits the number of persons who see the
material, and the extent of disclosure and the number of copies made of any material
to the minimum necessary for the authorised purposes set out in the IPA 2016440
.

431 Section 87(3) of the DPA 2018. While controllers can be exempt from this principle pursuant to Section
110 of the DPA 2018 to the extent that such exemption is required to safeguard national security, such
exemption must be assessed case-by-case and can be invoked only as far as the application of a
particular provision would have negative consequences for national security (see recital (132)). The
national security certificates for the UK intelligence services (available at the following link:
https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-information/national-security-certificates/) do not cover Section
87(3) of the DPA 2018. Moreover, as any processing for a different purpose must be authorised by law,
intelligence services must have a clear legal basis for the further processing.
432 For further information on these purposes, see footnote 312.
433 See footnote 312.
434 ICO guidance on intelligence services processing (see footnote 161).
435 Section 54 of the IPA 2016.
436 Section 130 of the IPA 2016.
437 Section 151 of the IPA 2016.
438 Section 171 (9) of the IPA 2016.
439 Section 192 of the IPA 2016.
440 The arrangements must include measures for securing that every copy made of any of that material is
stored, for as long as it is retained, in a secure manner. The material obtained under a warrant and every
copy made of any of that material must be destroyed as soon as there are no longer any relevant grounds EN 78 EN
3.3.3 Oversight
(244) Government access for national security purposes is overseen by a number of different
bodies. The Information Commissioner oversees the processing of personal data in
light of the DPA 2018 (for more information on the independence, appointment role
and powers of the Commissioner see recitals (85) to (98)), while independent and
judicial oversight on the use of investigatory powers under the IPA 2016 is provided
by the IPC. The IPC oversees the use of IPA 2016 investigatory powers by both law
enforcement and national security authorities. Political oversight is guaranteed by the
Intelligence Service Committee of the Parliament.
3.3.3.1 Oversight under Part 4 of the DPA
(245) The processing of personal data carried out by the intelligence services under Part 4 of
the DPA 2018, is overseen by the Information Commissioner441
.
(246) The general functions of the Information Commissioner in relation to the processing of
personal data by intelligence services under Part 4 of the DPA 2018 are laid down in
Schedule 13 to the DPA 2018. The tasks include, but are not limited to, monitoring
and enforcement of Part 4 of the DPA 2018, promoting public awareness, advising
Parliament, the government and other institutions on legislative and administrative
measures, promote the awareness of controllers and processors of their obligations,
provide information to a data subject concerning the exercise of the data subject’s
rights, conduct investigations etc.
(247) The Commissioner, as for Part 3 of the DPA 2018, has the powers to notify controllers
of an alleged infringement and to issue warnings that a processing is likely to infringe
the rules, and issues reprimands when the infringement is confirmed. It can also issue
enforcement and penalty notices for violations of certain provision of the act442
.
However, differently than for other parts of the DPA 2018, the Commissioner cannot
give an assessment notice to a national security body443
.
(248) Moreover, Section 110 of the DPA 2018 provides an exception to the use of certain
powers of the Commissioner when this is required for the purposes of safeguarding
national security. This includes the power of the Commissioner to issue (any type of)
notices under the DPA (information, assessment, enforcement and penalty notices),

for retaining it (see Sections 150 (2), 150(5) and 151(2) of the IPA 2016). It is worth noting that similar
safeguards, provided under the previous legal framework (RIPA 2000) were found in compliance with
the requirements set by the European Court of Human Rights for the sharing of material obtained by
bulk interception with foreign States or international organisations (European Court of Human Rights
(Grand Chamber), Big Brother Watch and others v United Kingdom, (see footnote 279 above), paras.
362 and 399).
441 Section 116 of the DPA 2018.
442 Pursuant to Schedule 13 paragraph 2 to the DPA 2018, enforcement and penalty notices may be issued
to a controller or processor in relation to violations of Chapter 2 of Part 4 of the DPA 2018 (principles
of processing), a provision of Part 4 of the DPA 2018 conferring rights on a data subject, a requirement
to communicate a personal data breach to the Commissioner under Section 108 of the DPA 2018, and
the principles for transfers of personal data to third countries, non-Convention countries and
international organisations in Section 109 of the DPA 2018 (for further details on enforcement and
penalty notice see recital (92)).
443 Under Section 147(6) of the DPA 2018, the Information Commissioner may not give an assessment
notice to a body specified in Section 23(3) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. That includes the
Security service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Government Communications
Headquarter).EN 79 EN
the power to do inspections in accordance with international obligations, the powers of
entry and inspection, and the rules on offences444. As explained in recital (126), these
exceptions apply only if necessary and proportionate and on a case-by-case basis.
(249) The ICO and UK intelligence services have signed a Memorandum of
Understanding445 that establishes a framework for co-operation on a number of issues,
including data breach notifications and the handling of data subjects complaints. In
particular, it provides that, upon receiving a complaint, the ICO will assess that the
application of any national security exemption has been used appropriately. Responses
to queries made by the ICO in the context of the examination of individual complaints
have to be given within 20 working days by the concerned intelligence agency, using
appropriate secure channels if it involves classified information. From April 2018 to
date, the ICO has received 21 complaints from individuals about the intelligence
services. Each complaint was assessed and the outcome was communicated to the data
subject446
.
3.3.3.2 Oversight of the use of investigatory powers under the IPA 2016
(250) Pursuant to Part 8 of the IPA 2016, oversight over the use of investigatory powers is
exercised by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC). The IPC is assisted by
other Judicial Commissioners, which are collectively referred to as Judicial
Commissioners447. The IPA 2016 sets out the guarantees that protect the independence
of the Judicial Commissioners. Judicial Commissioners are required to hold, or to have
held, a high judicial office (i.e. must be or have been a member of the most senior
courts)448 and, as any member of the judiciary, they enjoy an independent status from
the government449
. Pursuant to Section 227 of the IPA 2016, it is the Prime Minister
that appoints the IPC and as many Judicial Commissioners as he considers necessary.

444 The provisions that can be exempted are: Section 108 (communication of a personal data breach to the
Commissioner), Section 119 (inspection in accordance with international obligations); Sections 142 to
154 and Schedule 15 (Commissioner’s notices and powers of entry and inspection); and Sections 170 to
173 (offences relating to personal data). Furthermore, in relation to processing by the intelligence
services in Schedule 13 (other general functions of the Commissioner), paragraphs 1(a) and (g) and 2.
445 Memorandum of Understandings between Information Commission’s Office and the UK Intelligence
Community, see footnote 165.
446 In seven of these cases, the ICO advised the complainant to raise the concern with the data controller
(this is the case when an individual has raised a concern with the ICO, but should have first raised it
with the data controller), in one of these cases, the ICO provided general advice to the data controller
(this is used when the actions of the controller do not appear to have breached the legislation, but an
improvement of the practices may have avoided the concern being raised with the ICO), and in the other
13 cases, there was no action required from the data controller (this is used when concerns raised by the
individual do fall under the Data Protection Act 2018 because they concern the processing of personal
information, but based on the information provided the controller does not appear to have breached the
legislation).
447 In accordance with Section 227(7) and (8) of the IPA 2016, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner is a
Judicial Commissioner, and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and the other Judicial
Commissioners are to be known, collectively, as the Judicial Commissioners. There are currently 15
Judicial Commissioners.
448 According to Section 60(2) of Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, a “high judicial office”
means office as a judge of any of the following courts: (i)the Supreme Court; (ii )the Court of Appeal in
England and Wales; (iii) the High Court in England and Wales; (iv) the Court of Session; (v) the Court
of Appeal in Northern Ireland; (vi) the High Court in Northern Ireland; or as a Lord of Appeal in
Ordinary.
449 The independence of the judiciary is based on convention and has been broadly recognized since the
1701 Act of Settlement.EN 80 EN
All Commissioners, whether they are current or former members of the judiciary, can
only be appointed on the basis of a joint recommendation by the three Chief Justices
for England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Lord Chancellor450. The
Secretary of State must provide the IPC with staff, accommodation, equipment and
other facilities and services451. The term of the Commissioners is three years and they
can be reappointed452. As a further guarantee of their independence, Judicial
Commissioners can be removed from office only subject to strict conditions imposing
a high threshold: either by the Prime Minister in the specific circumstances listed in an
exhaustive manner in Section 228(5) of the IPA 2016 (such as bankruptcy or
imprisonment), or if a resolution approving the removal has been passed by each
House of Parliament453
.
(251) The IPC and Judicial Commissioners are supported in their roles by the Investigatory
Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO). The IPCO’s staff includes a team of
inspectors, in-house legal and technical expertise, and a Technology Advisory Panel to
provide expert advice. As it is the case for the individual Judicial Commissioners, the
independence of the IPCO is protected. The IPCO is an “arm’s-length body” of the
Home Office, i.e. it receives funding from the Home Office, but carries out its
functions independently454
.
(252) The main functions of the Judicial Commissioners are set out in Section 229 of the
IPA 2016455. In particular, the Judicial Commissioners have an extensive power of
prior approval, which is part of the safeguards introduced in the United Kingdom legal
framework with the IPA 2016. Warrants in relation to targeted interception, equipment
interference, bulk personal datasets, bulk acquisition of communication data as well as
retention notices for communication data all have to be approved by Judicial
Commissioners456. The IPC must also always pre-authorise the acquisition of
communication data for law enforcement purposes457. If a Commissioner refuses to

450 Section 227(3) of the IPA 2016. Judicial Commissioners must be recommended also by the
Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Section 227(4)(e) of the IPA 2016.
451 Section 238 of the IPA 2016.
452 Section 227(2) of the IPA 2016.
453 The removal process is identical to the removal process for other judges in the UK (see for example
Section 11(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 and Section 33 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005,
which also require a resolution following an approval by both House of the Parliament). To date, no
Judicial Commissioner has been removed from office.
454 An arm’s-length body is an organisation or agency that receives funding from a government, but is able
to act independently (for a definition and more information on an arm’s length body see the Handbook
of the Cabinet Office on the classification of Public Bodies, available at the following link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/51957
1/Classification-of-Public_Bodies-Guidance-for-Departments.pdf and the First Report of session 2014-
2015 of the Public Administration Select Committee of the House of Commons, available at the
following link: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmpubadm/110/110.pdf )
455 According to section 229 of the IPA 2016, the Judicial Commissioner have extensive oversight powers
which also cover the oversight on the retention and the disclosure of the data collected by the
intelligence agencies.
456 Decisions on whether to approve a decision by the Secretary of State to issue a warrant are a matter for
the Judicial Commissioners themselves. If a Commissioner refuses to approve a warrant, the Secretary
of State can appeal to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, whose decision is final.
457 The IPC authorization is always requested where communication data is acquired for purposes of law
enforcement (Section 60A of the IPA 2016). Where communication data is acquired for purposes of
national security, the authorisation can be granted by the IPC or, alternatively, by a designated senior
officer of the relevant public authority (See Sections 61 and 61A of the IPA 2016 and recital (203)).EN 81 EN
approve a warrant, the Secretary of State can appeal to the Investigatory Powers
Commissioner, whose decision is final.
(253) The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy strongly welcomed the
establishment of the Judicial Commissioners with the IPA 2016, as “all the more
sensitive or intrusive requests to conduct surveillance need to be authorized by both a
cabinet minister and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office”. In particular,
he stressed that “this element of judicial review [through the role of the IPC] assisted
by a better-resourced team of experienced inspectors and technology experts is one of
the most significant new safeguards introduced by the IPA”, that replaced a previously
fragmented system of oversight authorities and complements the role of the
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament and the Investigatory Powers
Tribunal”458
.
(254) In addition, the IPC has the powers to carry out ex post oversight, including by way of
audit, inspection and investigation, of the use of investigatory powers under the IPA
2016459 and some other powers and functions provided in relevant legislation460. The
results of such ex post oversight are included in the report that the IPC must prepare
annually and present to the Prime Minister461 and that must be published and laid
before Parliament462. The report contains relevant statistics and information about the
use of the investigatory powers by intelligence agencies and law enforcement
authorities as well as the deployment of the safeguards in relation to items subject to
legal privilege, confidential journalistic material and sources of journalistic
information, information on the arrangements taken and the operational purposes used
in the context of bulk warrants. Finally, in the IPCO Annual Report, it is specified in
which area recommendations were given to public authorities and how they have been
addressed463
.

458 End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy at the Conclusion Of his
Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (see footnote 281).
459 Section 229 of the IPA 2016. The Judicial Commissioner’s investigation and information powers are set
out in Section 235 of the IPA 2016.
460 This includes surveillance measures under the RIPA 2000, the exercise of functions under Part 3 of the
Police Act 1997 (authorisation of action in respect of property), and the exercise by the Secretary of
State of functions under Sections 5 to 7 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (warrants for interference
with wireless telegraphy, entry and interference with property (Section 229 of the IPA 2016).
461 Section 230 of the IPA 2016. The IPC can also report to the Prime Minister on his own initiative on any
matter relating to his functions. The IPC must also report to the Prime Minister on his request and the
Prime Minister can direct the IPC to review any functions of the Intelligence Services.
462 Some parts may be excluded if publishing them would be contrary to national security.
463 For example, in the IPCO annual report 2019 (paragraph 6.38) it is mentioned that MI5 was
recommended to modify their policy of retention for bulk personal datasets (BPD) since it should have
taken an approach where consideration was given to the proportionality of the retention for all fields in
BPD holdings and for each BPD held. At the end of 2018, the IPCO was not satisfied that this
recommendation was followed and the 2019 report explained that the MI5 is now introducing a new
process to discharge this requirement. The 2019 annual report (paragraph 8.22) mentions also that
GHCQ was given a series of recommendations concerning the record accounting for the proportionality
of their queries on bulk data. The report confirms that improvements have been made in this area at the
end of 2018. Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner Office 2019, available at the
following link:
https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPC%20Annual%20Report%202019_Web%20Accessible%20version_fin
al.pdf. In addition, each IPCO inspection of a public authority is concluded with a report which is
provided to the authority and includes any recommendations that arise from that inspection. The IPCO
then starts each subsequent inspection with a review of any previous recommendations from the last EN 82 EN
(255) In accordance with Section 231 of the IPA 2016, if the IPC becomes aware of any
relevant error committed by public authorities in the use of their investigatory powers,
it must inform the person concerned where they consider that the error is serious and it
is in the public interest for the person to be informed464. In particular, Section 231 of
the IPA 2016 specifies that, when informing a person of an error, the IPC must
provide information on any right he/she has to apply to the Investigatory Powers
Tribunal, and provide such details as the Commissioner considers necessary for the
exercise of those rights and there is a public interest for the disclosure465
.
3.3.3.3 Parliamentary oversight of Intelligence services
(256) The parliamentary oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has its
statutory footing in the Justice and Security Act 2013 (JSA 2013)466. The Act
establishes the ISC as a committee of the United Kingdom Parliament. Since 2013, the
ISC has been provided with greater powers including the oversight of operational
activities of security services. Under Section 2 of the JSA 2013, the ISC has the task to
oversee the expenditure, administration, policy and operations of national security
agencies. The JSA 2013 specifies that the ISC is able to conduct investigations on
operational matters when they do not relate to ongoing operations467. The
Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the Prime Minister and the ISC468
specifies in details the elements to be taken into account when considering whether an
activity is not part of any ongoing operation469. The ISC can also be asked to
investigate ongoing operations by the Prime Minister and can review information
voluntarily provided by the agencies.
(257) Under Schedule 1 to the JSA 2013 the ISC may ask the heads of any of the three
intelligence services to disclose any information. The agency must make such
information available, unless the Secretary of State vetoes it470. According to the

time and it is reflected in the new inspection report whether previous recommendations were addressed
or are carried forward.
464 An error is considered “serious” when the Commissioner considers that it has caused significant
prejudice or harm to the person concerned (Section 231(2) of the IPA 2016). In 2018, 22 errors were
reported of which eight were deemed serious and resulted in information to the person concerned. See
Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner Office 2018, Annex C (see
https://www.ipco.org.uk/docs/IPCO%20Annual%20Report%202018%20final.pdf). In 2019, 14 errors
were considered to amount to serious. See Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner
Office 2019, Annex C, see footnote 463.
465 Section 231 of the IPA 2016 specifies that when informing a person of an error, the IPC must provide
such details as the Commissioner considers necessary for the exercise of those rights, having regard in
particular to the extent to which disclosing the details would be contrary to the public interest or
prejudicial to the prevention or detection of serious crime, the economic well-being of the United
Kingdom, or the continued discharge of the functions of any of the intelligence services.
466 As explained by UK authorities, the JSA expanded the remit of the ISC to include a role in overseeing
intelligence community beyond the three agencies and allowing retrospective oversight of the
operational activities of the Agencies on matters of significant national interest.
467 Section 2 of the JSA 2013.
468 Memorandum of Understanding between the Prime minister and the ISC, available at the following
link: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2013-0415/AnnexA-JSBillsummaryofISCMoU.pdf
469 Memorandum of Understanding between the Prime minister and the ISC, para 14, see footnote 468.
470 The Secretary of State may only veto disclosure of information on two grounds: the information is
sensitive and should not be disclosed to the ISC in the interests of national security; or it is information
of such a nature that, if the Secretary of State were requested to produce it before a Departmental Select EN 83 EN
explanations provided by the United Kingdom authorities, in practice very little
information is withheld from the ISC471
.
(258) The ISC consists of members belonging to either House of the Parliament and
appointed by the Prime Minister after consulting the leader of the opposition472. The
ISC is required to make an annual report to Parliament on the discharge of its
functions and other reports that it considers appropriate473. Moreover, the ISC is
entitled to receive every three months the list of operational purposes that is used to
examine material obtained in bulk474. Copies of the investigations, inspections or
audits of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner are shared with the ISC by the Prime
Minister when the matter of the reports is relevant for the Committee statutory
competences475. Finally the Committee can ask the IPC to perform an investigation
and the Commissioner must inform the ISC of the decision as to whether to carry out
such investigation476
.
(259) The ISC also provided input on the draft IPA 2016, which resulted in a number of
amendments that are now reflected in the IPA 2016477. In particular, the ISC
recommended the strengthening of privacy protections by introducing a set of privacy
protections which apply across the full range of investigatory powers478. It also
suggested changes to the proposed capabilities concerning Equipment Interference,

Committee of the House of Commons, the Secretary of State would consider (on grounds not limited to
national security) it proper not to do so. (Schedule 1 paragraph 4(2) to the JSA 2013).
471 The UK Explanatory Framework for Adequacy Discussions, section H: National Security, page 43, see
footnote 31.
472 Section 1 of the JSA 2013. Ministers are not eligible for members. Members hold their position on the
ISC for the duration of the Parliament during which they were appointed. They can be removed by a
resolution of the House by which they were appointed, or if they cease to be an MP, or they become a
Minister. A member may also resign.
473 Reports and statements of the Committee are available online at the following link:
https://isc.independent.gov.uk/publications/. In 2015 the ISC issued a report on “Privacy and Security:
A modern and transparent legal framework” (see: https://isc.independent.gov.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2021/01/20150312_ISC_PSRptweb.pdf) in which it considered the legal framework for
surveillance techniques used by the intelligence agencies and issued a series of recommendation that
were then considered and integrated in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill that was converted into law,
the IPA 2016. The government’s answer to the Privacy and Security report is available at the following
link: https://b1cba9b3-a-5e6631fd-ssites.googlegroups.com/a/independent.gov.uk/isc/files/20151208_Privacy_and_Security_Government_
Response.pdf
474 Section 142, 161 and 183 of the IPA 2016.
475 Section 234 of the IPA 2016.
476 Section 236 of the IPA 2016.
477 Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, Report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill,
available at the following link: https://isc.independent.gov.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2021/01/20160209_ISC_Rpt_IPBillweb.pdf
478 These general duties in relation to privacy are now set out in Section 2(2) of the IPA 2016, which
provides that a public authority acting under the IPA 2016 must have regard to whether what is sought
to be achieved by the warrant, authorisation or notice could reasonably be achieved by other less
intrusive means, whether the level of protection to be applied in relation to any obtaining of information
by virtue of the warrant, authorisation or notice is higher because of the particular sensitivity of that
information, the public interest in the integrity and security of telecommunication systems and postal
services, and any other aspects of the public interest in the protection of privacy.EN 84 EN
BPD and Communications Data, and requested other specific amendments to
strengthen the limitations and safeguards for the use of investigatory powers479
.
3.3.4 Redress
(260) In the field of government access for national security purposes, data subjects must
have the possibility of bringing legal action before an independent and impartial court
in order to have access to their personal data, or to obtain the rectification or erasure of
such data480. Such a judicial body must notably have the power to adopt binding
decisions on the intelligence service481. In the United Kingdom, as explained in
recitals (261) to (271), a number of judicial redress avenues provide data subjects with
the possibility to pursue and obtain such legal remedies.
3.3.4.1 Redress mechanisms available under Part 4 of the DPA
(261) Under Section 165 of the DPA 2018, a data subject has the right to lodge a complaint
with the Information Commissioner if the data subject considers that, in connection
with personal data relating to him or her, there is an infringement of Part 4 of the DPA
2018. The Information Commissioner has the power to assess the compliance of the
controller and processor with the DPA 2018, requiring them to take necessary steps.
Moreover, under Part 4 of the DPA 2018, individuals are entitled to apply to the High
Court (or Court of Session in Scotland) for an order requiring the controller to comply
with the rights of access to data482, to object to processing483 and to rectification or
erasure484
.
(262) Individuals are also entitled to seek compensation for damage suffered due to a
contravention of a requirement of Part 4 of the DPA 2018 from the controller or a
processor485. Damage includes both financial loss and damage not involving financial
loss, such as distress486
.
3.3.4.2 Redress mechanisms available under the IPA 2016
(263) Individuals can obtain redress for violations of the IPA 2016 before the Investigatory
Powers Tribunal.
(264) The Investigatory Powers Tribunal is established by the RIPA 2000 and is independent
from the executive487. In accordance with Section 65 of the RIPA 2000, the members
of that Tribunal are appointed by Her Majesty for a period of five years. A member of

479 For example, further to the request of the ISC, the number of days an “urgent” warrant can be in place
before the Judicial Commissioner has to approve it has been reduced from five to three working days,
and the ISC was given the power to refer matters to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner for
investigation.
480 Schrems II, paragraph 194.
481 Schrems II, paragraph 197.
482 Section 94(11) of the DPA 2018.
483 Section 99(4) of the DPA 2018.
484 Section 100(1) of the DPA 2018.
485 Section 169 of the DPA 2018 allows claims from “A person who suffers damage by reason of a
contravention of a requirement of the data protection legislation”. According to the information
provided by the UK authorities, in practice, a claim or complaint against the intelligence services is
likely to be made to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, who has a broad jurisdiction, is capable of
awarding compensation/damages and where bringing a claim does not involve any costs.
486 Section 169(5) of the DPA 2018.
487 Under Schedule 3 to the RIPA 2000, the members must have specified judicial experience and are
eligible for reappointment.EN 85 EN
that Tribunal may be removed from office by Her Majesty on an Address488 by both
Houses of Parliament489
.
(265) Under Section 65 of the RIPA 2000 the Tribunal is the appropriate judicial body for
any complaint by a person aggrieved by conduct under the IPA 2016, RIPA 2000 or
any conduct of the intelligence services490
.
(266) To bring an action before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“standing requirement”),
according to Section 65 of the RIPA 2000 an individual has to believe491 that the
conduct of an intelligence service has taken place in relation to him, any of his
property, any communications sent by or to him, or intended for him, or his use of any
postal service, telecommunications service or telecommunications system”492. In
addition, the complainant is required to believe that the conduct has taken place in
“challengeable circumstances”493 or “to have been carried out by or on behalf of the
intelligence services494. As in particular this “belief” standard has been interpreted
quite broadly495, bringing a case before that Tribunal is subject to low standing
requirements.

488 An “Address” is a motion laid before Parliament which seeks to make the Monarch aware of
Parliament’s opinions on a particular issue.
489 Schedule 3 paragraph 1(5) to the RIPA 2000.
490 Section 65(5) to the RIPA 2000.
491 On the standard of the “belief” test see case Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State [2016]
UKIPTrib15_165-CH, paragraph 41. In this case, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, by referring to the
European Court of Human Rights case law, held that the appropriate test is whether in respect of the
asserted belief that any conduct falling within Subsection 68(5) of RIPA 2000 has been carried out by or
on behalf of any of the intelligence services, there is any basis for such belief, such that the individual
may claim to be a victim of a violation occasioned by the mere existence of secret measures or
legislation permitting secret measures, only if he is able to show that due to his personal situation, he is
potentially at risk of being subjected to such measures.
492 Section 65(4)(a) of the RIPA 2000.
493 Such circumstances refer to conduct of public authorities taking place with authority (e.g. an warrant, an
authorisation/notice for the acquisition of communications, etc.), or if the circumstances are such that
(whether or not there is such authority) it would not have been appropriate for the conduct to take place
without it, or at least without proper consideration having been given to whether such authority should
be sought. Conduct authorised by a Judicial Commissioner are considered as to have taken place in
challengeable circumstance (Section 65 (7ZA) of the RIPA 2000) while other conducts that take place
with the permission of a person holding judicial office are considered not to have taken place in
challengeable circumstance (Section 65(7) and (8) of the RIPA 2000).
494 According to the information provided by UK authorities, the low threshold for making a complaint
determines that it is not unusual for the Tribunal’s investigation to determine that the complainant was
in fact never subject to investigation by a public authority. The latest Statistical Report of the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal specifies that in 2016 the Tribunal received 209 complaints, 52% of
those were considered frivolous or vexatious and 25% received a “no determination” outcome. UK
authorities explained that this either means that no covert activity/powers were used in relation to the
complainant, or that covert techniques were used and the Tribunal determined that the activity was
lawful. Additionally, 11% were ruled out of jurisdiction, withdrawn or not valid, 5% were ruled out of
time 7% were found in favour of the complainant. Statistical Report of the Investigatory Powers
Tribunal 2016, available at the following link: https://www.iptuk.com/docs/IPT%20Statisical%20Report%202016.pdf
495 See case Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State [2016] UKIPTrib15_165-CH. In this case, the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal, by referring to the European Court of Human Rights case law, held that
the appropriate test in respect of the belief that any conduct falling within Subsection 68(5) of RIPA
2000 has been carried out by or on behalf of any of the intelligence services is whether there is any basis
for such belief, including the fact that an individual may claim to be a victim of a violation occasioned EN 86 EN
(267) Where the Investigatory Powers Tribunal considers a complaint made to them, it is the
duty of the Tribunal to investigate whether the persons against whom any allegation is
made in the complaint have engaged in relation to the complainant as well as to
investigate the authority that has allegedly engaged in the violations and whether the
alleged conduct has taken place496. Where that Tribunal hears any proceedings, it must
apply the same principles for making their determination in those proceedings as
would be applied by a court on an application for judicial review497. In addition, the
addressees of the warrants or notices under the IPA 2016, and every other person
holding office under the Crown, employed by the police force or the Police
Investigations and Review Commissioner have the duty to disclose or provide to that
Tribunal all such documents and information as the Tribunal may require for the
purpose of enabling them to exercise their jurisdiction498
.
(268) The Investigatory Powers Tribunal must give notice to the complainant whether there
has been determination in his or her favour or not499. Under Section 67(6) and (7) of
the RIPA 2000, the Tribunal has the power to issue interim orders and to provide any
such award of compensation or other order as it thinks fit. This may include an order
quashing or cancelling any warrant or authorisation and an order requiring the
destruction of any records of information obtained in exercise of any power conferred
by a warrant, authorization or a notice, or otherwise held by any public authority in
relation to any person500. According to Section 67A of the RIPA 2000, a determination
of the Tribunal can be appealed, subject to leave granted by the Tribunal or relevant
appellate court.
(269) Finally, it is worth noting that the role of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has been
discussed in the context of legal actions before the European Court of Human Rights
in several occasions, notably in the case of Kennedy v. the United Kingdom501 and
more recently in the case Big Brother Watch and others v. United Kingdom502
, where
the Court declared that the “IPT offered a robust judicial remedy to anyone who
suspected that his or her communications had been intercepted by the intelligence
services”503
.
3.3.4.3 Other available redress mechanisms

by the mere existence of secret measures or legislation permitting secret measures, only if he is able to
show that due to his personal situation, he is potentially at risk of being subjected to such measures (see
Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State, paragraph 41).
496 Section 67(3) of the RIPA 2000.
497 Section 67(2) of the RIPA 2000.
498 Section 68(6) – (7) of the RIPA 2000.
499 Section 68(4) of the RIPA 2000.
500 An example of the application of those powers is the case in Liberty & Others vs. the Security Service,
SIS, GCHQ, [2015] UKIP Trib 13_77-H_2. The Tribunal made determination in favour of two
complainants because their communication, in one case, was retained beyond the limits established and,
in the other, because the procedure on examination was not followed as laid down in GCHQ internal
rules. In the first case the Court ordered the intelligence services to destroy the communications that
were retained for longer than the relevant time limit. In the second case, a destruction order was not
issued because the communication was not retained.
501 Kennedy, see footnote 129.
502 European Court of Human Rights, Big Brother Watch and others v United Kingdom, (see footnote 268
above), paragraph 413 – 415.
503 European Court of Human Rights, Big Brother Watch, paragraph 425.EN 87 EN
(270) As explained in recitals (109) to (111), means of redress under the Human Rights Act
1998 and before the European Court of Human Rights504 are also available in the area
of national security. Section 65(2) of RIPA 2000 provides the Investigatory Powers
Tribunal with exclusive jurisdiction for all Human Rights Act’s claims in relation to
the intelligence agencies505. This means, as noted by the High Court, “whether there
has been a breach of the HRA on the facts of a particular case is something that can in
principle be raised and adjudicated by an independent tribunal which can have access
to all relevant material, including secret material. […] We also bear in mind in this
context that the Tribunal is itself now subject to the possibility of an appeal to an
appropriate appellate court (in England and Wales that would be the Court of Appeal);
and that the Supreme Court has recently decided that the Tribunal is in principle
amenable to judicial review: see R (Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers
Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22; [2019] 2 WLR 1219”506
.
(271) It follows from the above that when United Kingdom law enforcement or national
security authorities access personal data falling within the scope of this Decision, such
access is governed by laws that set the conditions under which access can take place
and ensures that access and further use of the data is limited to what is necessary and
proportionate to the law enforcement or national security objective pursued. Moreover,
such access is subject in most instances to prior authorisation by a judicial body,
through the approval of a warrant or a production order, and in any case to
independent oversight. Once data has been accessed by public authorities, its
processing, including further sharing and onward transfer, is subject to specific data
protection safeguards under Part 3 the DPA 2018, reflecting those provided by
Directive (EU) 2016/680, for processing by law enforcement authorities and Part 4 of
the DPA 2018 for processing by intelligence agencies. Finally, data subjects enjoy in
this area effective administrative and judicial redress rights, including to obtain access
to their data or rectification or erasure of such data.
(272) Given the importance of such conditions, limitations and safeguards for the purposes
of the present Decision, the Commission will closely monitor the application and
interpretation of the UK rules framing government access to data. This will include
relevant legislative, regulatory and case-law developments, as well as activities of the
ICO and other oversight authorities in this area. Close attention will also be paid to the
execution by the UK of relevant judgments of the European Court of Human Rights,
including measures identified in the “action plans” and “action reports” submitted to
the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of compliance with the
Court’s rulings.
4. CONCLUSION

504 As illustrated, for example, by the recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of
Human Rights in Big Brother Watch and others v United Kingdom (see footnote 279 above), this allows
effective judicial control – similar to the one to which EU Member States are subject to – by an
international court over compliance by public authorities with fundamental rights when accessing
personal data. Moreover, the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is
subject to specific supervision by the Council of Europe.
505 In Belhaj & others [2017] UKSC 3 the determination of unlawfulness of the interception of legally
privileged material was based directly on Article 8 of the ECHR (see determination 11).
506 High Court of Justice, Liberty, [2019] EWHC 2057 (Admin), paragraph 170.EN 88 EN
(273) The Commission considers that the UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 ensure a level of
protection for personal data transferred from the European Union that is essentially
equivalent to the one guaranteed by Regulation (EU) 2016/679.
(274) Moreover, the Commission considers that, taken as a whole, the oversight mechanisms
and redress avenues in United Kingdom law enable infringements to be identified and
punished in practice and offer legal remedies to the data subject to obtain access to
personal data relating to him/her and, eventually, the rectification or erasure of such
data.
(275) Finally, on the basis of the available information about the United Kingdom legal
order, the Commission considers that any interference with the fundamental rights of
the individuals whose personal data are transferred from the European Union to the
United Kingdom by United Kingdom public authorities for public interest purposes, in
particular law enforcement and national security purposes, will be limited to what is
strictly necessary to achieve the legitimate objective in question, and that effective
legal protection against such interference exists.
(276) Therefore, in the light of the findings of this Decision, it should be decided that the
United Kingdom ensures an adequate level of protection within the meaning of Article
45 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, interpreted in light of the Charter of Fundamental
Rights of the European Union.
(277) This conclusion is based on both the relevant UK domestic regime and its international
commitments, in particular adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights
and submission to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Continued
adherence to such international obligations is therefore a particularly important
element of the assessment on which this Decision is based.
5. EFFECTS OF THIS DECISION AND ACTION OF DATA PROTECTION
AUTHORITIES
(278) Member States and their organs are required to take the measures necessary to comply
with acts of the Union institutions, as the latter are presumed to be lawful and
accordingly produce legal effects until such time as they expire, are withdrawn,
annulled in an action for annulment or declared invalid following a reference for a
preliminary ruling or a plea of illegality.
(279) Consequently, a Commission adequacy decision adopted pursuant to Article 45(3) of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 is binding on all organs of the Member States to which it is
addressed, including their independent supervisory authorities. In particular, during the
period of application of this Decision, transfers from a controller or processor in the
European Union to controllers or processors in the United Kingdom may take place
without the need to obtain any further authorisation.
(280) It should be recalled that, pursuant to Article 58(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and
as explained by the Court of Justice in the Schrems judgment507, where a national data
protection authority questions, including upon a complaint, the compatibility of a
Commission adequacy decision with the fundamental rights of the individual to
privacy and data protection, national law must provide it with a legal remedy to put

507 Schrems, paragraph 65. EN 89 EN
those objections before a national court which may be required to make a reference for
a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice508
.
6. MONITORING, SUSPENSION, REPEAL OR AMENDMENT OF THIS
DECISION
(281) Pursuant to Article 45(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the Commission is to monitor,
on an ongoing basis, relevant developments in the United Kingdom after the adoption
of this Decision in order to assess whether it still ensures an essentially equivalent
level of protection. Such monitoring is particularly important in this case, as the
United Kingdom will administer, apply and enforce a new data protection regime no
longer subject to European Union law and which may be liable to evolve. In that
respect, special attention will be paid to the application in practice of the United
Kingdom rules on transfers of personal data to third countries, and the impact it may
have on the level of protection afforded to data transferred under this Decision; to the
effectiveness of the exercise of individual rights, including any relevant development
in law and practice concerning the exceptions to or restrictions of such rights (notably
the one relating to the maintenance of effective immigration control); as well as
compliance with the limitations and safeguards with respect to government access.
Amongst other elements, case law developments and oversight by the ICO and other
independent bodies will inform the Commission’s monitoring.
(282) To facilitate this monitoring, the United Kingdom authorities should promptly inform
the Commission of any material change to the UK legal order that has an impact on
the legal framework that is the object of this Decision, as well as any evolution in
practices related to the processing of the personal data assessed in this Decision, both
as regards the processing of personal data by controllers and processors under the UK
GDPR and the limitations and safeguards applicable to access to personal data by
public authorities. This should include developments regarding the elements
mentioned in recital (281).
(283) Moreover, in order to allow the Commission to effectively carry out its monitoring
function, the Member States should inform the Commission about any relevant action
undertaken by the national data protection authorities, in particular regarding queries
or complaints by EU data subjects concerning the transfer of personal data from the
Union to controllers or processors in the United Kingdom. The Commission should
also be informed about any indications that the actions of United Kingdom public
authorities responsible for the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of
criminal offences, or for national security including any oversight bodies, do not
ensure the required level of protection.
(284) Where available information, in particular information resulting from the monitoring
of this Decision or provided by United Kingdom or Member States’ authorities,
reveals that the level of protection afforded by the United Kingdom may no longer be
adequate, the Commission should promptly inform the competent United Kingdom
authorities thereof and request that appropriate measures be taken within a specified
timeframe, which may not exceed three months. Where necessary, this period may be

508 Schrems, paragraph 65: “It is incumbent upon the national legislature to provide for legal remedies
enabling the national supervisory authority concerned to put forward the objections which it considers
well founded before the national courts in order for them, if they share its doubts as to the validity of the
Commission decision, to make a reference for a preliminary ruling for the purpose of examination of the
decision’s validity”.EN 90 EN
extended for a specified period of time, taking into account the nature of the issue at
stake and/or of the measures to be taken. For example, such a procedure would be
triggered in cases where onward transfers, including on the basis of new adequacy
regulations adopted by the Secretary of State or international agreements concluded by
the United Kingdom, would no longer be carried out under safeguards ensuring the
continuity of protection within the meaning of Article 44 of Regulation (EU)
2016/679.
(285) If, at the expiry of that specified timeframe, the competent United Kingdom authorities
fail to take those measures or otherwise demonstrate satisfactorily that this Decision
continues to be based on an adequate level of protection, the Commission will initiate
the procedure referred to in Article 93(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 with a view to
partially or completely suspend or repeal this Decision.
(286) Alternatively, the Commission will initiate this procedure with a view to amend the
Decision, in particular by subjecting data transfers to additional conditions or by
limiting the scope of the adequacy finding only to data transfers for which an adequate
level of protection continues to be ensured.
(287) On duly justified imperative grounds of urgency, the Commission will make use of the
possibility to adopt, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 93(3) of
Regulation (EU) 2016/679, immediately applicable implementing acts suspending,
repealing or amending the Decision.
7. DURATION AND RENEWAL OF THIS DECISION
(288) The Commission must take into account that, with the end of the transition period
provided by the Withdrawal Agreement and as soon as the interim provision under
Article 782 of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement will cease to apply, the
United Kingdom will administer, apply and enforce a new data protection regime
compared to the one in place when it was bound by EU law. This may notably involve
amendments or changes to the data protection framework assessed in this Decision, as
well as other relevant developments.
(289) It is therefore appropriate to provide that this Decision will apply for a period of four
years as of its entry into force.
(290) Where in particular information resulting from the monitoring of this Decision reveals
that the findings relating to the adequacy of the level of protection ensured in the
United Kingdom are still factually and legally justified, the Commission should, at the
latest six months before this Decision ceases to apply, initiate the procedure to amend
this Decision by extending its temporal scope, in principle, for an additional period of
four years. Any such implementing act amending this Decision is to be adopted in
accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 93(2) of Regulation (EU)
2016/679.
.
8. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
(291) The European Data Protection Board published its opinion509, which has been taken
into consideration in the preparation of this Decision.

509 Opinion 14/2021 regarding the European Commission Draft Implementing Decision pursuant to
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the adequate protection of personal data in the United Kingdom, available EN 91 EN
(292) The measures provided for in this Decision are in accordance with the opinion of the
Committee established under Article 93 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679,
HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:
Article 1
1. For the purposes of Article 45 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the United Kingdom
ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred within the scope
of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 from the European Union to the United Kingdom.
2. This decision does not cover personal data that is transferred for purposes of United
Kingdom immigration control or that otherwise falls within the scope of the
exemption from certain data subject rights for purposes of the maintenance of
effective immigration control pursuant to paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 2 to the DPA
2018.
Article 2
Whenever the competent supervisory authorities in Member States, in order to protect
individuals with regard to the processing of their personal data, exercise their powers pursuant
to Article 58 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 with respect to data transfers falling within the
scope of application set out in Article 1, the Member State concerned shall inform the
Commission without delay.
Article 3
1. The Commission shall continuously monitor the application of the legal framework
upon which this Decision is based, including the conditions under which onward
transfers are carried out, individual rights are exercised and United Kingdom public
authorities have access to data transferred on the basis of this Decision, with a view
to assessing whether the United Kingdom continues to ensure an adequate level of
protection within the meaning of Article 1.
2. The Member States and the Commission shall inform each other of cases where the
Information Commissioner, or any other competent United Kingdom authority, fails
to ensure compliance with the legal framework upon which this Decision is based.
3. The Member States and the Commission shall inform each other of any indications
that interferences by United Kingdom public authorities with the right of individuals
to the protection of their personal data go beyond what is strictly necessary, or that
there is no effective legal protection against such interferences.
4. Where the Commission has indications that an adequate level of protection is no
longer ensured, the Commission shall inform the competent United Kingdom
authorities and may suspend, repeal or amend this Decision.
5. The Commission may suspend, repeal or amend this Decision if the lack of
cooperation of the United Kingdom government prevents the Commission from
determining whether the finding in Article 1(1) is affected.

This Decision shall expire on 27 June 2025, unless extended in accordance with the procedure
referred to in Article 93(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.
Article 5
This Decision is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Brussels, 28.6.2021
For the Commission
Didier REYNDERS
Member of the Commissio

Die Kommentarfunktion ist deaktiviert, aber Trackbacks und Dingbacks sind offen.