News Article

Highlights of the ISC open evidence session

Last Updated: 22 Nov 2013
Extracts from the evidence given by Sir Iain Lobban in public at the first open Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament evidence session on 7 November 2013.


Agency heads gives evidence to the ISC open evidence session on 7 Nov 2013
Sir Iain Lobban (right) gives evidence to the ISC on 7 Nov 2013 ©Parliamentary copyright 2013

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.



key blue


'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.'



old bailey


'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.'



tablet world


'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.'



Car Fire


'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.'



binary stop


'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...'