Calls for extremism database to be abolished as ECtHR rules UK police violated peaceful pensioner's privacy rights
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There have been calls for the database on "domestic extremists" hosted by the Metropolitan Police to be abolished following the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling last week that the police's failure to delete data held on John Catt, a peaceful protester who is now 94 years old, violated his right to privacy.
According to Brighton newspaper The Argus, John Catt's daughter Linda "has demanded an apology as well as confirmation her fathers details would be completely removed from the database," and has "called on the Home Office to look at disbanding the database altogether."
The paper also quotes Catt's lawyer Shamik Dutta, who "called on the Government to 'urgently revisit' its definition of domestic extremism and police practices and to remove his details from the database alongside others who are thought to have been added to it unnecessarily, like journalists."
The case began in 2010 when John Catt requested the deletion of records on his presence at demonstrations held in the domestic extremism database.
After various UK courts found for and against Mr Catt, the case ended up before the European Court of Human Rights.
In its judgment last week, the Grand Chamber found that:
"the continued retention of the data in Mr Catts case had been disproportionate because it was personal data which revealed political opinions and so had enhanced protection; it had been accepted that Mr Catt did not pose a threat to anyone, also taking into account his age; and there had been a lack of effective procedural safeguards."
- ECtHR press release: UK failed to protect the right to privacy of a lifelong activist whose personal data appeared in an extremism database (pdf)
- Judgment: Catt v UK (Application no. 43514/15) (pdf)
- Legal summary (pdf)
- Protester, 91, goes to European court over secret police files (July 2016)
- Will the Supreme Court give police the 'right' to mass surveillance? (December 2014)
- Files on politicians, journalists and peace protestors held by police in "domestic extremist" database (November 2013)
- Police data-gathering on protesters dealt a blow by the courts (June 2013)
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