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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

In the media
Publisher: 
Computer Weekly
Publication date: 
07-Feb-2014
Author(s): 
Warwick Ashford
Original story link: 

Liberty, Big Brother Watch and Privacy International have described the inquiry as “deeply flawed” in an open letter to the ISC with copies to the prime minister and his deputy.

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In the media
Publisher: 
The Belfast Telegraph
Publication date: 
09-Feb-2014
Author(s): 
Cahal Milmo
Original story link: 

A Privacy International spokesman said: “Whether it's mass interception of data through undersea cable tapping or cyber attacks, it has become clear that the current legal framework governing intelligence activities in the UK is unfit for purpose in the modern digital era, and reform is urgently needed.  Given the deeply flawed nature of this present investigation by the ISC, we hope that a full and independent inquiry is called. Without explaining the application and interpretation of the current legal framework, the ISC cannot properly reassure the public that UK intelligence agencies have not acted beyond the law or undermined cyber security.”

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In the media
Publisher: 
The Independent
Publication date: 
09-Feb-2014
Author(s): 
Cahal Milmo
Original story link: 

A Privacy International spokesman said: “Whether it's mass interception of data through undersea cable tapping or cyber attacks, it has become clear that the current legal framework governing intelligence activities in the UK is unfit for purpose in the modern digital era, and reform is urgently needed.  Given the deeply flawed nature of this present investigation by the ISC, we hope that a full and independent inquiry is called. Without explaining the application and interpretation of the current legal framework, the ISC cannot properly reassure the public that UK intelligence agencies have not acted beyond the law or undermined cyber security.”

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In the media
Publisher: 
The Telegraph
Publication date: 
06-Feb-2014
Author(s): 
Matthew Sparkes
Original story link: 

Privacy International spokesman Mike Rispoli said: "This latest news brings forth the very serious question of whether GCHQ's attacks on servers hosting chatrooms is lawful. There is no British policy in place to initiate cyber attacks. There has been no debate in parliament as to whether we should be using cyber attacks. There is no legislation that clearly authorises GCHQ to conduct cyber attacks. So in the absence of any democratic mechanisms, it appears GCHQ have granted themselves the power to carry out the very same offensive attacks politicians have criticised other states for conducting."

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In the media
Publisher: 
BBC
Publication date: 
05-Feb-2014
Original story link: 

Campaign group Privacy International is also worried.

"There is no legislation that clearly authorises GCHQ to conduct cyber-attacks," said head of research Eric King.

"So, in the absence of any democratic mechanisms, it appears GCHQ has granted itself the power to carry out the very same offensive attacks politicians have criticised other states for conducting."

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Blog
Caroline Wilson Palow's picture

The current legal framework governing intelligence activities in the UK is unfit for purpose in the modern digital era, and reform is urgently needed.

With this in mind, today Privacy International responded to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s call for evidence, addressing the question, “Whether the legal framework which governs the security and intelligence agencies’ access to the content of private communications is ‘fit for purpose’, given the developments in information technology since they were enacted.”

While we welcome scrutiny of the UK’s legal framework, we do have concerns about the process. In a separate letter sent to the ISC, Privacy International along with Big Brother Watch and Liberty called on Parliament to establish a full and independent inquiry, given the deeply flawed nature of this present investigation.

Blog
Matthew Rice's picture

The latest Snowden document revelation, which shows how GCHQ and the NSA are conducting broad, real-time monitoring of YouTube, Facebook, and Blogger using a program called "Squeaky Dolphin," is the most recent demonstration of the immense interception capabilities of intelligence services.

In the media
Publisher: 
Democratic Audit Uk
Publication date: 
14-Jan-2014
Original story link: 

Caroline Wilson Palow, Legal Officer, Privacy International said:

"Despite recent attempts by the UK Government to reform the Intelligence and Security Committee through the Justice and Security Act 2013, the continuing Snowden revelations show how feeble UK oversight actually is. It is now widely acknowledged that the ISC’s weaknesses have resulted in an almost ‘siloed’ body with little transference of knowledge or expertise from a core group of representatives to the wider Parliament, much less the public. This in turn leads to a severe lack of accountability, transparency, and ultimately a breakdown in trust – both of the oversight mechanism and of the agencies themselves. But it does not have to be this way.

The ISC’s unwavering defence of the intelligence agencies’ actions is in contrast to the reaction of the similar bodies in the US. While far from perfect, the US response to the Snowden revelations has resulted in a more robust debate about the powers of the intelligence services than we have thus far seen in the UK. Congress and the US courts have placed significant pressure on the US executive and intelligence services to acknowledge the Snowden revelations and reveal additional details regarding the decision-making process that led to such potential abuses of power. That pressure has resulted in much more transparency, which in turn has led to substantive discussions regarding reform. The ISC should take notes."

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Blog
Mike Rispoli's picture

The reforms announced today, while positive in some respects, are completely inadequate to address the heart of the problem. Privacy International welcomes steps to minimise the data collected and retained on non-Americans, and the call to increase transparency around requests made to communications service providers. However, in the face of mass surveillance, unaccountable intelligence sharing, arbitrary expansions of the definition of ’national security’, and debased encryption standards, all of which fundamentally threaten the very fabric of American democratic institutions, the Obama administration has chosen to pursue reforms that serve only to tinker around the edges a grave and endemic problem. 
 

In the media
Publisher: 
GigaOm
Publication date: 
09-Jan-2014
Author(s): 
David Meyer
Original story link: 

Privacy International Legal Office Caroline Wilson Palow offered this by way of comment:  “It is clear that mass surveillance programs like Tempora have a disproportionate impact on those who live outside the country, since foreigners’ phone calls, emails, or internet searches currently receive even fewer legal protections than the communications of those who reside in the UK. It is wrong and we argue illegal for the UK to discriminate without any reasonable basis between UK and non-UK nationals when spying on their communications.

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