Anderson Report highlights the problem of surveillance powers in the UK

David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, published a major report today in which he criticised UK surveillance laws as ‘fragmented’, ‘obscure’, ‘undemocratic’ and ‘intolerable’. Dr Arne Hintz from the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) said the report “does not reject mass surveillance per se but demands legal safeguards that are much more rigid than current practices.” He noted: “This will affect the government’s plans for a new Communications Data Bill, also called the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, as it calls for a serious review of both authorisation and oversight of surveillance capabilities, and thus for a reform of Britain’s surveillance legislation.”

Dr Hintz leads an 18-month research project ‘Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society’ at Cardiff University that investigates the implications of the Snowden revelations on mass surveillance. As part of this project, Cardiff University will host a major conference on 18-19 June – ‘Surveillance and Citizenship’ – that will bring together leading international scholars and campaigners. It will be an opportunity for researchers and advocates to review and discuss the Anderson Report as well as the new government’s plans for the Communications Data Bill.

Dr Lina Dencik, a Cardiff University researcher working on the same project, said: “The Report confirms important findings from our research. We have found that the lack of transparency surrounding the level of state surveillance and the way it is being conducted remains a major concern amongst the British public. People want to know why and how their personal data is being collected and used, and what legal safeguards exist. This is central at a time when one of the first acts of the newly elected Conservative government has been to increase the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies at the same time as withholding the publication of annual transparency reports on the security services as initiated under the coalition government.”

Anderson Report: https://terrorismlegislationreviewer.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IPR-Report-Web-Accessible1.pdf

Response by Privacy International: https://www.privacyinternational.org/?q=node/595 / Response by the ‘Don’t Spy On Us’ network: https://www.dontspyonus.org.uk/blog/2015/06/11/dont-spy-on-us-response-to-the-anderson-review/

Conference ‘Surveillance and Citizenship’: http://www.dcssproject.net/conference/