Tag Archives: edward snowden

The physical network behind surveillance – an extraordinary video about Cornish internet apparatus


The path to the beach at Porthcurno - geograph.org.uk - 1298346
The path to the beach at Porthcurno, Cornwall. The diamond-shaped sign indicates the presence of underground cables, of which there are many buried under the beach, this place being the landfall of many cables under the Atlantic Ocean. The small building houses the terminals of these cables.

Here on Liberal Democrat Voice, we often debate the subject of government surveillance. But do we ever consider the actual physical network of cables and buildings which underpin that surveillance?

Videographer Mark Thomas has published an extraordinary video on You Tube which shows cables, manhole covers, buildings and the like, to give a detailed picture of how the network, which presumably facilitates surveillance of data, works on the ground.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Liblink: Nick Clegg – security oversight must be fit for the internet age

nick clegg pondersNick Clegg writes today in the Guardian under the headline: ‘Edward Snowden’s revelations made it clear: security oversight must be fit for the internet age.’

Until this week, the revelations published by the Guardian about the nature and extent of internet surveillance had provoked little reaction from British politicians. The quality of the debate in the US provides an unflattering contrast to the muted debate this side of the Atlantic.

Some of the revelations have described far-reaching intelligence-gathering capabilities. There are questions of principle here that require answers. Are such capabilities necessary and proportionate? Does the benefit to national security clearly outweigh the infringement of privacy? Are there proper checks and balances to guard against abuse? To ask these questions is not to question the good faith of those who work for the agencies. I have had the privilege of working with all three security services, and have nothing but praise for their professionalism.

I don’t doubt that they comply with the legal framework set for them by parliament. The issue is whether the rules we have set are fit for the internet age.

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Opinion: Do people not care about civil liberties?

It is inevitable that amongst the images of more than 1.8 million Yahoo! users hoovered up by GCHQ there are photos of children, and surely – given the scale of it – of children in their bedrooms. Yet where is the outcry?This latest discovery from the Snowden files is not simply the next chapter in the story of how every aspect of our online lives has been monitored over recent years. It also blows apart the standard defence used so far that only metadata – who called who when, but not the content – has been gathered up and …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 28 Comments

A longer read for the weekend: Lord (Paul) Strasburger’s submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament recently issued the following call for papers:

On 17 October 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) announced that it would be broadening its inquiry into the laws which govern the intelligence agencies’ ability to intercept private communications. In addition to considering whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate, the Committee is also considering the appropriate balance between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security. The ISC is now inviting written submissions from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry.

Lib Dem peer Paul Strasburger has sent us his submission, which we’re printing in full…

Submission to ISC Inquiry

paul strasburgerby Lord Strasburger

1. In January 2014 President Obama said to his country and the world “Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power. It depends on the law to constrain those in power.”
2. In the UK, the Snowden disclosures have confirmed that the legislation intended to constrain intrusive surveillance of its citizens by the State is not fit for purpose. In addition, scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies which is supposed to protect the privacy and liberty of the British people has comprehensively failed.

The difference between watching anybody and watching everybody

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Farron and Huppert submit Lib Dem Conference motion to curb surveillance

Today’s Guardian reports that Tim Farron and Julian Huppert are behind a move to get Liberal Democrat conference to adopt policy which would stop intrusive mass surveillance of personal data.

Judicial oversight of state surveillance and a regular release of the number of data requests made by the security services should be among the issues examined by a government “commission of experts” into all the recent allegations raised by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, theLiberal Democrats are to propose.

They will also call

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Snowden leaks: 72% of Lib Dems say he was in the right – and 69% think state surveillance powers should be cut back

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Edward Snowden’s leaking of US and British intelligence material revealed the extent of the authorities’ surveillance – what do Lib Dem members make of it all?

Posted in LDV Members poll | 2 Comments

Lord Paul Strasburger writes…Government must engage in public debate on surveillance

No reasonable person would deny that our spies should be able to intrude, as deeply as is appropriate, into the affairs of people suspected of the most serious offences.  But this scandal is not about those suspects.  It’s about suspicion-less, untargeted surveillance of the entire population as represented by GCHQ’s Project Tempora.

The real questions I will be asking in the chamber of the House of Lords are:

1.       How have we sleep-walked into a situation where GCHQ is collecting massive amounts of the private data of every innocent citizen without the informed consent of Parliament?

2.      Why won’t the government acknowledge this …

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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.

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Clegg: Guardian’s leaked Snowden secrets of “immense interest to people who want to do us harm”

Clegg HeadMI5 chief Andrew Parker spoke out yesterday against the leaking of intelligence secrets by Edward Snowden to The Guardian, claiming it seriously endangered national security and had given terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida “the gift they need to evade us and strike at will”. Nick Clegg was asked if he agreed on his LBC radio phone-in show, Call Clegg. Here’s what he said:

Nick Ferrari: Deputy Prime Minister, do you agree with the Prime Minister, who says that Andrew Parker, the Security Chief’s warning to the Guardian’s publication of those files handed

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I’m a liberal and I’m sticking up for Nick Clegg over David Miranda and The Guardian

Civil liberties. It’s the issue that unites Lib Dems like no other. While you’ll find a range of views within the party on big issues that matter more to the voters — such as the economy or the NHS or even tuition fees — personal freedom, the right to live your life as you choose, is at the heart of liberalism. Nick Clegg made his name within the Lib Dems as shadow home affairs spokesman by proposing measures like the Freedom Bill and threatening to go to prison rather than carry an ID card.

Yet civil liberties is also the …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 46 Comments

David Miranda’s detention – what do the public think?

Polling firm YouGov has surveyed the British public on their attitudes to this week’s big news story: the detention of David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who’s worked with Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence officer on whistleblowing / leaking details of the the surveillance activities of the US and British intelligence agencies.

‘Public divided’ is how YouGov’s summarised it, pretty fairly. This in itself is surprising: generally the public favours ‘national security’ over ‘individual liberty’ when push comes to shove. This suggests the police’s actions, possibly in themselves unlawful, have worried more than just the usual civil …

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Opinion: Against Liberal fundamentalism

Centre Forum recently chose the “Naked Rambler” as “Liberal Hero of the Week”. The Naked Rambler is a man who fights for his freedom to walk naked in public wherever he chooses.  Lib Dem Voice also carried an article robustly asserting that liberals should oppose interference with that freedom.

Many fundamentalist liberals wrote in to applaud.  More moderate respondents pointed out that young children might well be upset or even traumatised, while their parents could reasonably fear that a naked stranger might be a paedophile.

Steve Way explained that the police offered the Naked Rambler three options – change direction …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 65 Comments
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