U.K. Parliamentary Inquiry Calls For New Legal Framework To Govern Spy Agencies


In a report published today, the U.K. parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has called for a new single act of Parliament to govern how domestic spy agencies operate with the aim of improving transparency and public trust. It dubs its report “an important first step towards greater transparency”.

The 149-page report is the cumulation of a year long inquiry by the committee, set against the backdrop of ongoing revelations derived from documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (some of which have specifically pertained to the U.K. GCHQ spy agency), with the aim of examining the operations of the UK intelligence and security agencies — looking specifically at (in the committee’s own words):

  •  the range of intrusive capabilities currently available to the Agencies;
  •  how those capabilities are used, and the scale of that use;
  • the extent to which the capabilities intrude on privacy; and
  • most importantly, the legal authorities and safeguards that regulate their use

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