Illegal Surveillance

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 13 June 2013.

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Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Government has been in contact with the United Kingdom Government regarding illegal surveillance activities in Scotland. (S4F-01457)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

We are clear that people have the right to communicate without the fear of unlawful surveillance by the state. Following the extensive media coverage of the access by the Government Communications Headquarters to US intelligence, the Scottish ministers have sought assurances from the UK Government. On Tuesday, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote to the Foreign Secretary to acknowledge a statement that Mr Hague made on Monday and to ask for further information for the benefit of this Parliament.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

I thank the First Minister for his answer. Will Mr Hague’s reply be published?

What is the current oversight system for surveillance in Scotland? Has there been any consideration of changes to the system?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

On the issue of the future work, I refer the member to the evidence that the Deputy First Minister gave to the relevant committee.

I can share with Christine Grahame the points that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice made to the Foreign Secretary. He said:

“You will appreciate that as Cabinet Secretary for Justice I wish to be satisfied that the rights of the people of Scotland have been upheld. In addition I expect that there will be Scottish Parliamentary interest in this issue. I would therefore be grateful for further information from you about the approach that you are taking to the investigation of this matter, and the progress that is being made to provide the necessary assurance in relation to compliance with the law.”

The straight answer to Christine Grahame’s question is that the reply will be published. Although it is for the relevant parliamentary committee to decide, it could also lead questions on that evidence and further pursue the matter.