New UK Privacy Watchdog to Monitor GCHQ User Tracking
A new privacy watchdog organization in the UK has launched.
A new UK privacy watchdog organization in the UK has launched in an attempt to monitor and regulate the information that UK intelligent services gather from it’s citizens. It’s a bold step in the right direction for regulating existing privacy laws in th UK.
The new UK privacy watchdog organization will take over the work that was previously carried out by three former organizations. With the new organization up and running, 70 staff will be hired to keep a close eye on the UK’s intelligence agencies. 15 of the new staff members are retired judges with plenty of legal experience behind them.
The new organization will keep an eye on what information is gathered from intercepted phone calls, texts, and tracked SMS messages. They’ll ensure that the collection of such data is kept within the realms of the law.
The different bodies that the new organization will track include MI5, MI6, and GCHQ. The organization will also monitor any SMS tracking or other monitoring done by all police forces done across the country, as well as the National Crime Agency, Serious Fraud Office, and HM Revenue and Customs.
A retired former court of appeal judge, Sir John Goldring, will be the new outgoing intelligence services commissioner for the organization. Goldring mentioned that “From today, and for the first time, investigatory powers will be overseen by a single body applying a consistent, rigorous and independent inspection regime across public authorities. This is an important milestone as we start to implement the new oversight powers set out in the Investigatory Powers Act.”
The new UK privacy watchdog potentially has a lot of power over what the different intelligence agencies will have access to, and will be rigorous enough to ensure any unlawful tracking is stopped.
One of the most crucial tasks carried out by the new UK privacy watchdog organization will be to ensure that all agencies go through proper means to require the right warrants to continue with their intelligence and data tracking campaigns. This includes a double-lock system that’ll require an agency to get approval for a warrant from both a minister and an independent judicial commissioner.
The construction of this new organization is a very important step in the right direction for UK privacy and human right’s laws. It should ensure that any data gathered from UK citizens is only done under the strict avenues of law set out for the aforementioned agencies and police forces.
Going forward, there should be less concern about breached privacy in the UK and more support for data tracking that may be used to track down and stop terrorism and criminal activity within the UK.
Whilst this new organization has the potential to keep intelligence agencies within the realm of the law, it still begs us to wonder what may be going on behind closed doors. Whether or not the United Kingdom is tracking its citizens through other means or tracking other countries is currently unknown. It’s likely that we’ll never hear the full story of exactly how the United Kingdom government uses their intelligence gathering agencies and what it is they do with the information they gather.