Regulation of UK surveillance an 'inadequate mess'

Responding to a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) today, which said that the legal framework surrounding surveillance in the UK is ‘unnecessarily complicated’ and ‘lacks transparency’, Rachel Logan, Amnesty UK’s Legal Programme Director, said:

“The regulation of government surveillance is an inadequate mess and the ISC is right that it needs a complete overhaul.

“Twice this year we’ve seen GCHQ spies rumbled breaking the law, and just a few weeks ago the security services were forced to accept in court that the way they deal with confidential communications between lawyers and clients is unlawful.

“No-one disputes the importance of properly-targeted surveillance to combat terrorist activity - in fact states have a duty to protect their people. However, it’s also vital that surveillance measures don’t ride roughshod over the rights of the very people they're supposed to protect.

“The oversight of the security services should be the responsibility of a properly independent body. The Prime Minister holds a veto over who sits on the ISC, what it can examine, and what it can report so there is absolutely no way it can be considered an adequate independent regulator of the activities of our spies.”

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