The UK parliament’s intelligence and security committee has today released a report into Edward Snowden’s disclosures of GCHQ’s mass surveillance and personal data collection programmes. Its inquiry has considered the impact of such activities on people’s privacy.
Responding to the report, Anne Jellema, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Wide Web Foundation said:
“Today’s report from the ISC raises more questions than it answers. It acknowledges multiple failings and a lack of clarity around the actions of the security services – the very issues that this committee should have been at pains to prevent.
“In a democratic society, citizens should decide what powers are handed over to the State. Yet we have sleepwalked into a situation where we are now told to accept that bulk surveillance by default is necessary, and that we should trust the Government to put in place checks and balances – despite overwhelming evidence that they have failed to do so to date.
“The Committee is right to suggest that a legislative overhaul of surveillance laws is long overdue. But this has already been accepted by all leading political parties. Clear and robust steps are needed to rein in the excess powers that the spy agencies have arrogated, and the ISC recommendations fall well short of this. Far from “drawing a line” under the debate on mass surveillance, the ISC report with all of its redacted sections only highlights the crying need for such a debate to begin. That is why we are calling for a new Magna Carta for the digital era, developed with the democratic participation of all citizens.”
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