Electronic Surveillance: USA

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 30th October 2015.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to end the indiscriminate mass surveillance identified in the European Court of Justice’s judgment in case C-362/14, Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The European Court of Justice did not make any findings of fact in relation to alleged ‘indiscriminate mass surveillance’. The UK agencies do not conduct ‘mass surveillance’. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), an independent court, has looked in detail at this. Like the Interception Commissioner, the IPT made clear that Government Communications Headquarters is not conducting ‘mass surveillance’. Furthermore, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament conducted a comprehensive review of Privacy and Security, examining in detail the work of the intelligence agencies, and published its report on 12 March 2015. It said: “our Inquiry has shown that the Agencies do not have the legal authority, the resources, the technical capability, or the desire to intercept the communications of British citizens, or of the internet as a whole.”

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