In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute yesterday (the text of which can be found here) Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond suggested that the debate over privacy and security, over mass surveillance and the role, tactics and practices of the intelligence and security services, was nearly over. In his words, after the current reviews by the Intelligence and Security Committee (the ISC) and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, both of which are due to report shortly, “we should draw a line under the debate”. I have one simple and direct response to that. No, Mr Hammond, it isn’t time to ‘draw a line’. The debate isn’t over: it has barely begun.
In his speech, Hammond highlights and praises the role played by the ISC. As he puts it:
“I regard the independent scrutiny and oversight that the ISC provides as a particular and significant strength of…
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