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13 September 2016

Mixed reaction to Anderson review of bulk surveillance powers

There has been a mixed reaction to the review by David Anderson QC of the controversial bulk powers outlined in the Investigatory Powers Bill currently before parliament. The report was commissioned by prime minister Theresa May while still home secretary to evaluate the operational case for the powers of bulk interception of communications, acquisition of communications data, equipment interference and personal datasets for use by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. According to the review report, Anderson’s team considered around 60 detailed case studies provided by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, together with associated intelligence reports, internal documents from each of the agencies discussing the powers, and interviews with 85 intelligence officials. The report concludes that there is a proven operational case for three of the bulk powers, and that there is a distinct (though not yet proven) operational case for bulk equipment interference. “The bulk powers play an important part in identifying, understanding and averting threats in Great Britain, ...

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