“Mr Anderson’s report demonstrates how the bulk powers contained in the Investigatory Powers Bill are of crucial importance to our security and intelligence agencies. These powers often provide the only means by which our agencies are able to protect the British public from the most serious threats that we face.”
Prime Minister Theresa May
David Anderson Q.C. — Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation–has just published the : “REPORT OF THE BULK POWERS REVIEW”.
Bulk interception involves the harvesting of large quantities of data from the internet and emails.
Anderson backed three kinds of bulk data acquisition:
Bulk interception: The tapping of internet cables by GCHQ to target suspects outside the UK. The review says this is of “vital utility” to the security and intelligence agencies, citing the case of a kidnapping in Afghanistan that would have led to the killing of hostages, if spies had not used these powers.
Bulk acquisition of communications data: The gathering of data about communications but not the content of it. [disclosed publicly in November last year]
Bulk personal data sets: Databases of personal information, which could include everything from the electoral register to supermarket loyalty schemes, which the security services acquire openly or covertly.
However, Anderson expressed some reservations about a fourth practice:
Bulk equipment interference, which involves hacking into smart phones or computers over “a large geographical area”.