LibLink: Julian Huppert calls for greater public scrutiny of spying

Julian Huppert Sherlock HolmesWriting in the Guardian yesterday, Julian Huppert called for greater public scrutiny of national security. It was not just the work of the intelligence services that was scrutinised in parliament last Thursday, he says, but secretive intelligence and security committee which oversees the services.

This sort of public scrutiny is exactly what we need to restore confidence in our intelligence service, whose work keeps us safe. It does make you wonder why this should have been such a massive event: shouldn’t public scrutiny be at the heart of the way our intelligence and security service operates anyway?

Huppert says that he is not asking for details to be discussed, just principles.

Should we be spying on our own citizens? Is it reasonable and proportionate that every click we make online is monitored and saved for an eventuality that may never come? Is it right and proper that we spy on our allies, tapping into their personal phones? Can our embassies be used as listening posts?

These are questions, Huppert says, that can and should be debated in public.

On Snowden leaks of National Security Agency documents, he comments:

They demonstrate the NSA is insecure and can’t protect its own information. If it is true that what was leaked contained information that was directly damaging to our security, as opposed to just being very embarrassing, why were hundreds of thousands of contractors able to access it all? Why were names of UK agents so widely available?

Huppert concludes that we need substantial reform of our oversight mechanisms. The intelligence and security committee should become “a creature of parliament, not the executive”.

We also need an independent body – perhaps like President Obama’s privacy and oversight board, which includes civil society representatives. We need more transparency about… the legal basis for the actions of the intelligence and security agencies. We are also dealing with outdated, over-broad and excessively complex legislation – this needs an independent review.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in LibLink and News.
Advert

3 Comments

  • That’s a STUNNING photomanip.

  • The problem is that the spy chiefs have this idea that disclosing their methods would make their jobs harder and thus the methods should not be disclosed. The problem is that this leads to things like the NSA thinking it has the right to attack the use of encryption by everyone which is far too much collateral damage. The police use their powers to harrass people who take photographs of them.

  • Nigel Jones 10th Nov '13 - 7:32pm

    Thank you Julian again for taking a Liberal approach. We require our security services to operate in secrecy, but how and to what extent must be a decision of Parliament. Security chiefs can advise, but at the end of the day our public representatives decide the general principles under which they operate and their recent suggestions that this cannot be debated in case it affects our security misses the point and even suggests that they want to make these general decisions , not us. They are our servants.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Suzanne Fletcher
    It isn't the theory I have a problem with, it is how it would happen. it wouldn't just be deciding to disestablish, it would be unpicking lot of complicated li...
  • John
    Gordon, yes: "Being ‘first-mover’ can create competitive advantage, but it can also bake in weaknesses that are hard to identify let alone fix." Britain...
  • John
    Labour's plans for the HoL are a foolish concoction dreamt up by Gordon Brown as centralisers idea for devolution. People around the country are already nomi...
  • John
    Judging from anecdotal views encountered and comments n the Guardian and Independent, there ought to be a fair chunk of opinion looking for a more pro European ...
  • John
    Labour have made these proposals in an attempt to throw a constitutional bone to their membership ( 80%+ ), unions, and supporters who are desperate to get real...