UK government faces new calls for judicial sign-off on snooping warrants

UK government faces new calls for judicial sign-off on snooping warrants

The UK government is under pressure to adopt judicial sign-off for interception warrant requests following the publishing of a second independent report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

At the moment, ministers in the UK are allowed to give the go ahead on the surveillance warrants without judicial input.

The report states that the current system of granting warrants is lacking in “legal clarity” and says the “ISR Panel believe the system requires a radical overhaul which must include an enhanced role for the judiciary.”

Last month, the Anderson surveillance review came to the same conclusion.

Surveillance practices in the UK have been under scrutiny since the revelation that GCHQ and the NSA had been snooping on citizens prior to December 2014. At the beginning of the year, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that GCHQ had unlawfully accessed millions of personal communications collected by the NSA.

However, the review published today states that it found “no evidence that the British government knowingly acts illegally in intercepting private communications,” so it will be interesting to see what new surveillance legislation is brought forward in the Investigatory Powers Bill this autumn.

➤ A Democratic Licence to Operate Report of the Independent Surveillance Review [RUSI via TechCrunch]

Read next: Did GCHQ illegally spy on you? Privacy International will help you find out

Read next: NASA makes history as New Horizons heads on passage through Pluto's atmosphere