Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 9 News List

US and UK have history of mass surveillance

Britain and its allies have been secretly harvesting personal data since World War I. However, the latest leaks from whistle-blower Edward Snowden show that as states race to keep up with technology, they risk crossing ever more ethical and legal boundaries

By Peter Beaumont  /  The Observer, LONDON

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.

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