There’s no law to prevent intelligence agencies using private data. That has to change | Joshua Rozenberg
By Joshua Rozenberg
The intelligence commissioner’s report suggests that agencies are being commendably responsible in how they handle bulk data. But that isn’t enough
The secret intelligence service MI6 breached internal rules by allowing one of its officers unjustified access to bulk personal data, the intelligence services commissioner has reported. Sir Mark Waller disclosed the breach in his annual report, published today, but no identifying details have been given.
Bulk personal datasets are large databases acquired by or held on an analytical system in the intelligence services – the haystacks in which analysts can find a needle. They contain personal information about a wide range of people in the UK and elsewhere, most of whom are unlikely to be of intelligence interest. Though an increasingly important investigative tool for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, their existence was disclosed (“avowed”) only three months ago in a report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee.
Review by a commissioner should be the first step, not the last
June 25, 2015 at 12:58PM
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