ORG responds to David Anderson’s review of bulk surveillance

Policy Director of the Open Rights Group, Javier Ruiz, responded:

“The review presents only one side of the story, the utility of such powers to the state.

We now need an honest discussion about surveillance that looks at the effects on society, and the balance of power between citizens and the government. Parliament must not simply rubber-stamp current practices.

Some of Anderson’s claims, such as that alternatives to bulk may exist but would be more cumbersome, should open the door to a deeper discussion about the ethics of bulk collection. Parliament cannot pass the buck any longer and will have to decide whether it is right to collect and analyse the phone calls and internet use of whole populations, turning everyone into a potential suspect.”

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Notes to Editor

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, was asked by the Prime Minister to look at the operational case for the four bulk powers in the Investigatory Powers Bill, but but not to look at their desirability in the wider context or the safeguards that should apply.

The review will inform Parliament’s scrutiny of the Bill. The House of Lords had put on hold examining the sections of the Bill related to the review until after its publication, and this scrutiny will take place after the Summer recess.