Time for a public inquiry into mass surveillance

Public InquiryThe role of Parliament is to hold the Executive (Government) to account and the role of the media is to prevent the abuse of power and to provide a mechanism of accountability where that fails. Are they at present fulfilling that role? Neither is. And both have failed at the critical point where today the development of extraordinarily powerful new communication technologies have far exceeded the capability of current instruments to apply effective oversight. The nursery story hitherto has been that for MI5/6 to target an individual or group, they had to get a warrant from the Home Secretary.

The truth is, and has been for some time already, that the NSA in the US via the Prism programme and GCHQ in the UK via the Tempora programme have mutually acquired the capability to hoover up untold vast quantities of personal data from the undersea cables that carry internet data in and out of the UK on a colossal scale, and without any check or accountability at all. Continue reading