AMITIAE - Tuesday 10 February 2015

Cassandra: Home Secretary, Teresa May, Avoids Directly Answering a Question on Illegal GCHQ Surveillance

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By Graham K. Rogers


As a follow up from the ruling last week by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) on illegal collection of data by GCHQ, Julian Huppert, Liberal-Democrat MP for Cambridge, asked Teresa May, at Home Secretary's Question Time, about this:

Last week the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the regime governing UK agencies getting information from the NSA about private communications of people in the UK, was illegal and had been until last December. Will the Home Secretary make sure that any and all data, that is held by the security agencies or any other agencies she has responsibility for, that was held illegally, is now deleted?

The well-briefed Home Secretary stood and replied:

I have to say to my Honorable friend that the judgement last week reaffirmed the IPT's earlier ruling which found that the current regime governing both the intelligence agency's (agencies') external interception and intelligence-sharing regimes are lawful and ECHR-compliant; those activities have always been subject to strict safeguards; and the issue - the judgment - was about the amount of detail about those safeguards that needed to be in the public domain and the IPT has made clear that no further action is required.

Which seems neither to properly answer the question from Huppert, nor match what was reported last week, for example by the Guardian: UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful 'for seven years' (Owen Bowcott)

A video of the brief exchange is available on YouTube

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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