The Intelligence and Security Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the legal framework which governs interception of communications by the security agencies and the balance which is struck between privacy and security in that legislation. Triggered by the Snowden revelations, the inquiry issued a call for evidence which closed on 7 February 2014.
In 2011, long before the revelations about the operation of the Tempora programme, JUSTICE made significant recommendations for the wholesale reform of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in Freedom from suspicion: Surveillance reform for a digital age. Wholesale reform of that Act is necessary to provide a legislative framework fit for a digital age. We wrote to the ISC to highlight the archaic definitions in the Act, the need to expand opportunities for prior judicial oversight and to consolidate and improve mechanisms for after the event administrative scrutiny.
As we explained in our work on the Draft Communications Data Bill, while targeted surveillance can play an essential role in the effective prevention and detection of crime, unnecessary and excessive surveillance, including the unjustified collection and retention of data, destroys our privacy and blights our freedoms.