On 17 October 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) announced that it would be broadening its inquiry into the laws which govern the intelligence agencies’ ability to intercept private communications. In addition to considering whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate, the Committee is also considering the appropriate balance between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security.
The Committee is now inviting written submissions from those who wish to contribute to its Privacy and Security Inquiry.
Further details are provided in the Call for Papers.
Following today's open evidence session, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has issued an uncorrected transcript of the evidence
given by Sir Iain Lobban (Director, GCHQ), Mr Andrew Parker (Director General, MI5), and Sir John Sawers (Chief, MI6).
The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament is today holding its first Open Evidence Session. The witnesses are the three Heads of the UK intelligence Agencies:
- Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
- Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, MI5; and
- Sir John Sawers, Chief, MI6.
The session will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv from 14:00 and is expected to last approximately 90 minutes. It will feature a short time delay, as a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. (A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.)
Open Evidence Session At 14:00 on Thursday 7 November, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will be holding an Open Evidence Session with the three heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies:
This will be the Committee's first Open Evidence Session: it will be the first time the three heads of the Intelligence Agencies have appeared in public together to talk about their work.
- Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
- Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
- Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.
The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will question the Agency Heads on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage. However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters. The Committee questions the Agencies about these details in their closed sessions.
The session will be held on the Parliamentary estate and will last approximately an hour and a half. It will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv
.The session will be broadcast on a short time delay. The time delay is a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.There will be a limited number of seats available in the meeting room itself. For security reasons, the Committee has agreed that for this first Open Session these seats will be available to full Parliamentary pass holders and a small number of print journalists only. A notification of the event has been posted on the parliamentary intranet and pass holders have been invited to apply for a seat, which will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.Media arrangements are being dealt with separately.
The Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, has today issued a statement regarding the Committee's forthcoming Inquiry into privacy and security
The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today laid its 2012-2013 Annual Report before Parliament. The Committee has issued the attached Press Release. The Report can be found here
. The Government's formal response is expected to be published in the autumn.
In response to media reports that GCHQ has been gathering data via a covert US Internet monitoring programme, the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, has tonight issued the following statement:
"The Intelligence and Security Committee is aware of the allegations surrounding data obtained by GCHQ via the US Prism programme. The ISC will be receiving a full report from GCHQ very shortly and will decide what further action needs to be taken as soon as it receives that information."