The report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has said that the current piecemeal framework which governs how our intelligence services operate is unnecessarily complicated, resulting in a lack of transparency that is not in the public interest.
Its inquiry has looked at the impact intrusive surveillance activities have on privacy. It was sparked after whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed US and UK mass surveillance programmes and detailed extensive internet and phone surveillance.
The ISC is recommending a new Act of Parliament to govern the intelligence and security Agencies. The legislation should clearly set out the intrusive powers available to the Agencies, the purposes for which they may use them, and the authorisation required before they may do so.
Andy Halsall, Pirate Party Candidate for Sheffield Central said:
"This review was overdue. It's unfortunate that the report and subsequent recommendations were not put together by the ISC as part of its oversight function, but instead were prompted only when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on excessive surveillance. Without those leaks, we would not be debating these issues, or hearing about the serious concerns and proposed changes outlined in this report."
"Without Snowden, we would be less aware and less free."
"Clarifying the powers of the intelligence agencies is a vital step in repairing the trust that is necessary within a democratic society. The Lib-Dem / Conservative coalition and previous Labour governments have pressed for more intrusive snooping. We have to ensure that new legislation matches our principles and balances freedom with legitimate security needs."
"There are clearly still major issues around meta-data, targeted versus bulk intercept, and oversight. I don't accept that the bulk collection of communications of UK citizens isn't mass surveillance. Just because the communications being intercepted may not all be read, or that the services being used are located abroad should not remove the requirement for an individual warrant."
"Whilst I welcome this report, it's obvious that we need to continue to debate the role of mass surveillance and the boundaries between acceptable and prudent precautions and indiscriminate snooping."