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Open Rights Group and the3million to appeal after High Court dismisses challenge over the Data Protection Act's 'immigration exemption'

Summary:

Mr Justice Supperstone finds immigration exemption is not unlawful and provides adequate safeguards

Date of Publication:
04 October 2019

Open Rights Group and the3million to appeal after High Court dismisses challenge over the Data Protection Act's 'immigration exemption'

04 October 2019
EIN

Open Rights Group and the EU citizens group the3million said yesterday that they will seek to appeal a High Court ruling dismissing their judicial review of the 'immigration exemption' contained in the Data Protection Act 2018.

EIN members can read the full judgment here.

In dismissing the legal challenge, Mr Justice Supperstone found that "the provisions of the exemption setting out the purposes for which, and the categories of data to which, it may be applied are, in my view, clear and appropriately delineate".

Open Rights Group and the3million had argued that the exemption is unlawful because it amounts to an unnecessary and disproportionate interference with fundamental data protection rights.

The groups warned that the exemption would mean mistakes by the Home Office could go unchecked and important decisions about an individual's immigration status could be made based on incorrect or incomplete information.

According to the Guardian, Mr Justice Supperstone found there were safeguards within the Data Protection Act 2018 to provide people with effective remedies in the case of any error.

In a joint statement yesterday, Open Rights Group and the3million said:

"We are disappointed by the judgement in the High Court today and we have applied for permission to appeal.

"We still believe that the immigration exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 as it stands breaches fundamental rights. It is a blunt instrument, poorly defined and ripe for abuse. Access to data is key for an accountable system, that corrects errors in an immigration system that occur at an alarming rate. The importance of this can't be underestimated. Millions of EU citizens must navigate the Home Office application process to stay in the UK. This exemption removes that ability to correct errors, which could prove decisive in immigration decisions whether to allow a person to remain in the United Kingdom.

"As a result of this litigation we know the exemption is being used, and is being used often. Open Rights Group and the3million will continue the fight against the immigration exemption, seeking an immigration system and data protection framework that respects the rights of everyone."