Welcome Privacy News

The recommendations published in a report today by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee could present a welcome relief for privacy campaigners.

The report suggests that whilst existing laws have not been broken by the UK’s security services the current legislation is unnecessarily complicated, lacks transparency and could provide the agencies with a “blank cheque to carry out whatever activities they deem necessary”.

The report recommends a total overhaul of the current legislation to create a single Act of Parliament dealing with State powers in relation to surveillance and other intelligence gathering activities.  It also suggests that a criminal offence should be introduced to deal with misuse of data collected by agencies such as GCHQ.

Crucially, the bulk collection of data from individuals, which involves sifting through emails and other private communications, was deemed not to contravene the current legislation or to qualify as indiscriminate surveillance.  GCHQ’s blanket sifting of email communications did not provide them with the authority or even the capability to consider the content of individual emails, it merely provided them with potential “leads” which may require further investigation, based upon patterns and associations.  In order to examine the individual content, specific authorisation must be sought from the Secretary of State.

The report will have its supporters and cynics but on whichever side your loyalty rests a complete overhaul of the existing legal framework to make it simpler and more transparent can only be welcomed, assuming Parliament agrees to do so!


For further information in relation to this story read the Guardian news article here: (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/12/uk-surveillance-laws-need-total-overhaul-says-landmark-report-edward-snowden)

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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