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Press statement: David Anderson QC’s new report is an incomplete analysis of the case for mass surveillance powers

19 August 2016

Caroline Wilson Palow, General Counsel, Privacy International said:

“David Anderson QC’s report raises more questions than it answers.

Anderson has not assessed the proportionality of the bulk powers he reviewed. Ultimately, the proportionality question is the crucial one. Would the public find these kind of powers acceptable in a democratic society given their potential to vastly intrude into our privacy? Mere usefulness cannot be and is not the legal test for whether bulk powers should be sanctioned. If it were, then it might justify any of a panoply of extreme surveillance measures, from random stop and search powers to universal ID cards and a National ID Register, which the public have roundly rejected.

Another significant flaw in the review is that the case for one of the most intrusive powers — bulk hacking of computers and entire networks — remains totally hypothetical.

Given the time allocated to Anderson for his review, we are skeptical that each of the four very broad powers could have been fully vetted and assessed.

Ultimately, we do not see how a meaningful balance between privacy and mass surveillance can exist.”

For media enquiries, please contact Harmit Kambo at Privacy International on 07780 994204