October 25, 2013 | Peter Bradwell

Ask your MP to join the surveillance debate

There's a debate in Parliament next Thursday about mass surveillance. We'd like you to ask your MP to take part.

The MPs Tom Watson, Julian Huppert and Dominic Raab have secured a 'Westminster Hall' debate in Parliament next Thursday, on 'oversight of intelligence and security services.'

Intelligence agencies have significant powers to collect and analyse private information. It is Parliaments' responsibility to ensure these are necessary, proportionate and that they are not abused.

We now know from Edward Snowden's leaks that GCHQ has developed a range of alarming mass surveillance programmes, for example the tapping of undersea fibre-optic cables under the codename 'Tempora'. From the information published so far, it seems clear that surveillance law is unfit for the digital age and that significant reforms are needed.

Debates about the limits of surveillance and the oversight of intelligence agencies are being held in America and across Europe.

Yet MPs here have seemed reluctant to take the initiative and discuss mass surveillance by UK intelligence services. And so far the Government have only seemed worried about whether newspapers should have told us anything about the surveillance.

It is high time a substantial debate took place in the UK too.

The debate next Thursday will be the first substantial debate in Parliament about the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden. It is an opportunity to kick start our politicians into debating mass surveillance. That will give us a better chance of getting surveillance laws changed so they better respect our privacy.

You can help now.

Please get in touch with your MP and ask them to speak up about this issue. Tell them why it matters, why you'd like them to attend the debate, and why you think they should stand up for your privacy. You can use the following form:

Write to your MP

Comments (8)

  1. Graham Todd:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 01:16 AM

    Most of the thinking individuals in our society, thought that the security services kept track of those persons that there were good reasons for surveillance (association with known criminals, suspicion of terrorism, etc.), but recent revellations has indicated that there is mass surveillance in which the findings of the American NSA is being shared with GCHQ, and this has been allowed to take place without any real debate in Parliament. I believe that it should be Parliament that makes the decision of whether such surveillance should take place, to what extent it should take place, and how it should take place This will clearly give the security services boundaries which they cross at their peril. On behalf of the British people, and in the cause of democracy and legality, I ask, nay demand, that any mass surveillance is done within the rule of law and within limits set down by Parliament, and the appropriate Minister or Secretary of State should be held to account for any transgressions of the rules which allow surveillance to take place

  2. Derek L. Sykes:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    We are well on the way to a full blown Orwellian totalitarian state. We must return to sanity! NOW

  3. D Braund:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    It is obvious that we have technology capable of doing many things. It is very important to keep in mind what we should be doing with technology and what we should not be doing with it. This is for Parliament to decide not the spooks themselves.

  4. Chris:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 01:56 PM

    I have sent a letter to my MP expressing my views on the surveillance activities of this country. I have also asked them to attend the debate on 31 October. The intelligence agencies of this country are out of control and have undermined the civil liberties of every single citizen of this country. If there is more I can do, within the law, then I am willing.

  5. Toz:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 05:00 PM

    We can all remember the concern expressed by David Cameron over the incidents of phone hacking. He almost came off as genuine as he took the stand at the Leveson inquiry. It's breath now to consider the duplicity of that knowing, as he must, that the hacking by the intelligence community was being undertaken by order of magnitude in the millions.

  6. Jim Killock:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 11:09 PM


  7. Ian Harris:
    Oct 27, 2013 at 09:55 AM

    I've written to my MP.. Again..

    Specifically I ask, given the most recent revelations regarding the US and Germany. At what point did monitoring the phone of the German chancellor prevent terrorism? I realise that was the US, but its a good example of the agencies far overstepping their 'legal' boundaries.

  8. Alan Bird:
    Oct 28, 2013 at 07:49 PM

    Please return our right to privacy, in all aspects