The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC), has issued its findings in relation to its inquiry into the UK’s intelligence and security agencies’ intrusive capabilities. The inquiry was launched after the revelations from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden on the surveillance tactics of GCHQ and the US National Security Agency. The inquiry looked at how security agencies are used, the scale of that use, the degree to which they intrude on privacy and the extent to which existing legislation adequately defines and constrains these capabilities. The Committee concluded that although it is satisfied that the UK’s intelligence and security agencies do not seek to circumvent the law, it has serious concerns about the lack of transparency, which is not in the public interest. The Committee’s key recommendation is that the current legal framework be replaced by a new Act of Parliament governing the intelligence and security agencies.
This framework should clearly set out the intrusive powers available to the agencies, the purposes for which they may use them and the authorisation required before they may do so.