Who Watches the Watchers?

Yesterday, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee published a carefully worded, but nonetheless far-reaching, report on the state of UK surveillance laws. It was precipitated by the Edward Snowden revelations.

The report concluded three key things:

  • First, UK surveillance laws lack adequate safeguards and proper oversight.
  • Second, the intelligence agencies are engaged in ‘bulk’ trawling of our email, internet and other communications date, rather than simply pursuing investigative leads on individual or groups of suspects. We don’t know the scale of or criteria for such bulk trawling.
  • Third, the entire legal regime needs an overhaul to strengthen oversight and accountability.
This is a clear vindication of those of us, in Parliament and outside, who asked some very basic questions about the way our surveillance laws operate. I discussed the issue on Radio 4’s World at One program here (from 20mins).