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Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:25

UK government orders inquiry into spying

Written by Nick Farrell



Yeah we can see that working

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wants to commission an independent report into the extent of data gathering being undertaken by Britain’s spy agencies. For those who came in late, Clegg is a Liberal Democrat rather than a member of the ruling Tory party. He is part of a coalition because the Tories did not have enough votes to take control of the government.

However Clegg has been unable to convince the prime minister to back reform of the sector so any reform is really unlikely. His twin-pronged report will look at both new tools available for spy agencies to document our lives and also the legal environment in which they work amidst concerns in some quarters that current oversight rules are inadequate.

Clegg said: “It is not enough for the agencies to claim that they accurately interpret the correct balance between privacy and national security; they must be seen to do so, and that means strong, exacting third-party oversight."

Led by the Royal United Services Institute the review will investigate new data harvesting techniques which generate unprecedented volumes of personal information, governed by a conviction that government should intrude in private matters as little as possible.

Up for debate is what type of data can be collected, how long it can be kept, who has access to it and whether government needs to specifically authorise its collection.

Nick Farrell

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