Mass social media surveillance of Brits legal

Mass surveillance of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and even Google searches, is permissible because these are “external communications”, according to the government’s most senior security official. In the first detailed justification of the UK’s online interception policy, Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, has defended the way in which it sidesteps the need for individual search warrants.

The policy’s rationale has been published as part of the government’s defence against a case being brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services.

Farr’s statement, published on Tuesday by Privacy International and other human rights organisations, is the first time the government has commented on how it exploits the UK’s legal framework to operate its mass interception programme.

The Guardian:

Privacy International (PDF):