Highlights of the ISC open evidence session
Feature article - 22 Nov 2013
If you don't have time to read the full transcript of the evidence given by Sir Iain Lobban and his agency counterparts at the first ISC evidence session, here are some of Sir Iain's highlights.
'We do not spend our time listening to the telephone calls or reading the e-mails of the majority, of the vast majority. That would not be proportionate, it would not be legal. We do not do it.'
'We can only look at the content of communications where there are very specific legal thresholds and requirements which have been met.'
'My people are motivated by saving the lives of British forces on the battle field. They are motivated by fighting terrorists and serious criminals, by meeting that foreign intelligence mission.'
'There are strict criteria in the law which provides safeguards to protect privacy to the maximum extent possible.'
'[The laws] guide the way that we work. They guide the way that we think. They are within our DNA.'
'The laws were drafted to be technology neutral.'
'The global information and communication technology domain is a $3 trillion a year industry, so we are trying to keep up with that. It is relentless so we have to focus our efforts.'
'Our job is harder, has got harder, is getting harder. If you think about what the internet does for terrorists, it gives them a myriad of ways communicate covertly.'
'[the Internet] is global, it is diverse, it is complex. But there are threats to our security and our prosperity within that.'
'If SIGINT, Signals Intelligence, sources and methods are revealed, it can be a sudden darkening. More often, it is gradual, but it is inexorable.'
'We have seen terrorist groups in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and elsewhere in South Asia, discussing the revelations in specific terms, in terms of the communications packages that they use, the communications packages that they wish to move to.'
'The cumulative effect of the media coverage, the global media coverage, will make the job that we have far, far harder for years to come.'
'We are seeing attacks against the businesses which keep Britain going.'
'Industrial espionage on an industrial scale, stealing intellectual property.'
'Research and innovation being targeted, trade secrets, academic research...'