MPs clear GCHQ use of US Prism system as legal

But they will review legislation regarding effect of surveillance on privacy and human rights

GCHQ did not break British laws in the use of the American Prism system to gather information, the Commons intelligence and security committee reported today. But the MPs also stated they would be reviewing the legislations regarding the effect of surveillance on privacy and human rights.

The Committee stated that, contrary to some claims, GCHQ had not circumvented regulations but instead sought information from the National Security Agency in the US only after a warrant signed by a minister had been in place on each occasion as required under the law..

MPs had interviewed the director of the government listening post, Sir Iain Lobban " in detail" and had also travelled to the US to meet officials of the National Security Agency (NSA) and their Congressional counterparts in their inquiry.

Documents examined by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC)  had included details of counter-terrorist operations in which GCHQ had sought and obtained intelligence from the US, a list of UK citizens and residents who had been subjected to monitoring as a result of the liaison and lists of mediums, such as e-mails, which were intercepted.

The ISC said in its report: "It has been alleged that GCHQ circumvented UK law by using the NSA's Prism programme to access the content of private communications. From the evidence we have seen, we have concluded that this is unfounded."

However, the Committee, chaired by former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, added:  "it is proper to consider whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate".  It was "examining the complex interaction between the Intelligence Services Act, the Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act [Ripa], and the policies and procedures that underpin them, further."

William Hague, the  foreign secretary, said in a statement welcoming the ISC report."I see daily evidence of the integrity and high standards of the men and women of GCHQ.  The ISC's findings are further testament to their professionalism and values".

The controversy over wideranging interception by GCHQ of communications came as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, said the pattern of recent plots did not involve large networks, but small groups and, often, individual 'lone wolves'.

"The will and capacity to commit 7/7 style atrocities still exist in the United Kingdom, as demonstrated recently by the,

Birmingham rucksack bomb plot. However the bombers' chances of success have diminished with the marked improvement in MI5's coverage since 2005," he said in his annual report.

"Simpler attacks, involving fewer people and less planning, are becoming more common - including against national security targets, as in Northern Ireland - and can be very difficult to detect."

The lethality of such small-scale attacks was underlined by the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby who was stabbed to death outside Woolwich Barracks in south east London in May. Security officials cast doubts at the time on whether telephone intercepts would have necessarily stopped the killing.Two men have been charged with the soldier's murder.

Mr Anderson had said in an interview earlier today:  "We are certainly not seeing now what we saw in the years around 2005, 2006, which are the large, ambitious, 9/11-style plots perhaps to bring down simultaneously several airliners. What we are seeing is a trend towards lone actors and we are also seeing self-organised plots."

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn