Today, thanks to a legal action brought by Privacy International and others, we have our first glimpse of the legal rationale that the UK government is using to justify the monitoring of web, social network and email use globally.
Commenting, Anne Jellema, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, said:
“Based upon the documents published today, it seems the UK’s spy agencies are using flimsy legal justification to sidestep the need for individual warrants and feel able to indiscriminately collect and monitor the private social media and Web communications of anyone.
“The toxic cocktail of an opaque system and antiquated laws means that we have no idea how many times this has been done, how many people it has affected, or whether the technology companies involved are aware. Intelligence agencies need powers to keep people safe, but these powers must be subject to tough checks and balances or they will erode the very fabric of democracy. Bulk data collection by default, with laws made and enforced in secret can never be acceptable.
“Today’s revelations mean it is simply unacceptable for the UK government to delay a single day longer in launching a full and independent inquiry into GCHQ’s activities, leading to far-reaching changes in law and practice.”