Monthly Archives: March 2014

UK Deputy PM Clegg Commissions RUSI to Carry Out GCHQ Review




Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has commissioned a review into the new intrusive capabilities of British intelligence agencies and the legal framework in which they operate, after failing to persuade David Cameron that the coalition government should act now to tighten the accountability of Britain’s spies.

Clegg has been trying for months inside government to persuade the Conservatives and intelligence agencies that the existing accountability structure is inadequate and could corrode trust, but in a Guardian article before a big speech on Tuesday the deputy prime minister admits he has failed to persuade Cameron of the need for reform.

Clegg has as a result opted for an independent review, modelled on a report commissioned by Barack Obama, into the implications of the information harvesting technologies developed by US and UK intelligence agencies and exposed by leaks from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The independent review, to be led by the intelligence and military think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), will look at the proportionality of the data gathered for surveillance purposes and the legal framework in which this happens.

The review, to be chaired by RUSI’s director general, Michael Clarke, is in part modelled on the work commissioned in January by Obama from John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, into big data and privacy. Clegg says the aim of the review, due to report after the general election, will be to bring the issue into the mainstream of public debate, noting the “quality of the debate in the US provides an unflattering contrast to the muted debate on this side of the Atlantic”.

The deputy prime minister says the RUSI review needs to answer serious questions on how long the data is stored, by whom, and whether ministers or agencies should authorise its gathering.



Filed under GCHQ, RUSI

Surveillance Costs: NSA’s Impact on the Economy, Information Security, and Internet Freedom



There’s a debate raging in DC and around the world about the extensive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs that were first revealed this past summer–not only about whether the surveillance is consistent with constitutional and human rights, but also about the costs and the benefits of such mass surveillance. New America’s National Security Studies Program recently addressed the “benefits” question by releasing an in-depth research report demonstrating that the NSA programs have done little to prevent terrorism.

This event from New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) will look at the other side of the coin and examine the costs of the NSA programs. Such costs include not only the direct cost to the American taxpayer, but also the cost to the American Internet industry (by some estimates over $180 billion within the next few years), the cost to America’s foreign relations and its work to promote “Internet Freedom” globally, and finally, the cost to Internet security itself.

Anne-Marie Slaughter
President & CEO, New America Foundation 

Kevin Bankston
Policy Director, New America Foundation, Open Technology Institute

Featured Speakers:

Daniel Castro
Senior Analyst, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Mieke Eoyang
National Security Program Director, Third Way

Richard Fontaine
President, The Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

Ross Schulman
Public Policy and Regulatory Counsel,
The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

Micah Sherr
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Georgetown University 

Related Link: Tiny Constables and the Cost of Surveillance (Bankston/Soltani)


Filed under New America, NSA