An editorial in the New York Times says: Edward Snowden exposed the extent of mass surveillance conducted not just by the United States but also by allies like Britain. Now, a committee of the British Parliament has proposed legal reforms to Britain’s intelligence agencies that are mostly cosmetic and would do little to protect individual privacy.
In a report published on March 12, the Intelligence and Security Committee acknowledged that agencies like MI5 collect, sift through and examine millions of communications. Most of this is legal, the committee said, and justified by national security. It proposed a new law that would tell people more about the kind of information the government collects about them but would not meaningfully limit mass surveillance. That is hardly sufficient for a system that needs strong new checks and balances.
Separately, a legal filing by the British government made public on Wednesday showed that its intelligence agencies maintain the right to hack into the computers, phones and other devices owned not just by suspected terrorists and criminals but also people who “are not intelligence targets in their own right.” The filing was published by Privacy International, one of several advocacy groups that have challenged government surveillance in court. [Continue reading…]
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