However, Alex Bailin QC, an expert on surveillance at the Matrix Chambers, is skeptical.
“We are told there is proper oversight, but the question is whether ministers simply sign these certificates. But I wasn’t even aware section 8(4) existed until Friday,” he said.
Like Chakrabarti, Bailin suspects that intelligence agencies are subcontracting out surveillance to foreign partners.
“The reality is that RIPA is incredibly complex and full of legal loopholes that permit this kind of thing,” he added.
The European Parliament’s thesis has been confirmed by the Guardian’s revelations. Now the legal and ethical scrutiny can begin in earnest.