Heather Wheeler MP

Communications Data Bill

Don't Spy On Us

Heather Wheeler responded to a constituent's email around the Don't Spy On Us campaign with this message.

From: heather.wheeler.mp@parliament.uk Subject: RE: The 'Don't Spy on Us' Campaign

Thank you for contacting me about the 'Don't Spy on Us' campaign.

I want to start by recognising the essential work that our intelligence agencies do for us day in, day out to keep us safe by confronting the diverse terrorist threat that this country continues to face.

It is important to balance protecting national security and protecting the British public with the potential intrusion on individuals' rights to privacy that could be caused by intelligence activity.

That is why I am pleased that the work of the intelligence agencies is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that their activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate. There is rigorous oversight from Secretaries of State, the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner, and in Parliament from the Intelligence and Security Committee.

This oversight was strengthened by the Justice and Security Act 2013 which reformed the Intelligence and Security Committee. The Act made it a Committee of Parliament, providing greater powers, and increased its remit, including oversight of operational activity and the wider intelligence and security activities of Government.

I can assure you that GCHQ operates at all times in accordance with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). GCHQ's activity is overseen by the1 commissioners, who analyse its work in detail. They also analyse some of the codes of practice that the agencies have in place to ensure their adherence to RIPA.

I hope this helps highlight the strength of the scrutiny that we have and the different layers of checks and balances that operate in this country. I believe that we have every reason to be proud of those oversight arrangements and of the work of our agencies.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Heather Wheeler Mrs. Heather Wheeler

Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire