Britain’s counter-terror law boss has blasted internet giants like Twitter in a major report this week because they are unwilling to cooperate in terrorism investigations – and may even warn terror suspects they are being spied on.
Senior lawyer David Anderson QC, who is the British government’s independent terror watchdog, made the revelation this week, writing that the companies who run the world’s largest social networks are only willing to keep British terror investigations secret if compelled to by a court. Companies otherwise prioritise protecting their ‘brand’ identity by keeping details of users secret from British spooks – despite being willing to flog information to other companies for advertising revenue.
The revelation came after Anderson was asked by the government to investigate the claims made by American traitor Edward Snowden that Britain’s communication surveillance organisation GCHQ was engaging in mass, secret observation. In a finding that will likely surprise many, he found that the reality of surveillance work in the UK was far from the mass data collection that had been alleged – and that security services were in a daily battle with communication giants to do their jobs.
The relationship between Britain’s security services and major internet companies is now so bad, Anderson warned Britain is becoming unable to track criminals and terrorists online, reports the Daily Mail. Anderson wrote:
“Service providers are increasingly uncomfortable with voluntary arrangements, and may well show a preference, absent compulsion, to protect customers’ privacy rather than co-operate with governments”.
Most shocking are his remarks that Twitter, referenced here, would even work against the security services and alert suspected terrorists they were being watched:
“Some service providers will tip off a customer that they are under surveillance unless persuaded not to do so, typically by a court order… [their] priority is [the] brand, not UK intelligence”.
Despite the findings, the top lawyer has criticised Britain’s present counter-terror laws and systems as “undemocratic” and “intolerable”. He calls for root and branch reform, abolishing the myriad laws including the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and starting again with a “clean slate”.
It is likely his proposed reforms would meet with resistance from the government as he suggests among other changes stripping the Home Secretary of powers to sign warrants relating to counter-terror investigations, and giving the job to an impartial panel of judges instead to prevent abuse of the system by activist Home Secretaries.