'Snooping' must be justified

The government has been urged to justify the new snooping powers it is proposing. A new report says greater internet surveillance is necessary, but must be balance against the right to privacy

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Government 'snooping' should have conditions

A new report says the government must base their plans to access private email and online correspondence on the following principles:

  • There must be sufficient, sustainable cause
  • There must be integrity of motive
  • The methods must be proportionate and necessary
  • There must be right authority, validated by external oversight
  • It should be a last resort
  • There must be reasonable prospect of success

Surveillance reform is needed, but must be lawful, says report

A new report by Demos on the proposed expansions to the government's power to access our emails and online correspondence, has said there needs to be an "ethical" way by which the government can use online information.

Sir David Omand, co-author of the report said:

I don't know anyone who would say that you should ring-fence social media and say 'that's a secret space where paedophiles, criminals and terrorists can happily play because you can't get at it'

– Sir David Omand

But that this had to be balanced with an " open" internet that promotes the "free exchange of ideas", and that was good for the UK economy and in the public interest. He said the new plans must be based on:

on respect for human rights and the associated principles of accountability, proportionality and necessity".

– Sir David Omand


State surveillance could have 'chilling effect'

The report says it is vital for the monitoring of social media to be legally justified. Credit: ITV News

The government's new 'snooping powers' to be proposed in the Queen's speech need to be legally justified, according to a former Whitehall intelligence chief.

Sir David Omand, former director of the GCHQ electronic listening agency, said it was essential that there was a legal justification for any expansion of the government's power to monitor the personal correspondence of the public.

In a report he co-authored with Demos, he warned no such legal argument had been made and warned of the "chilling effect" fears of state surveillance could have on the use of social media.

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