William Hague assures law-abiding Britons they have ‘nothing to fear’ from US intelligence

Foreign secretary William Hague has moved to assuage fears over internet privacy in the wake of revelations surrounding American intelligence gathering by saying that law-abiding Britons have ‘nothing to fear’.

In a statement to MPs later today Hague will provide detail on Britain’s involvement in the controversial PRISM programme, revealed by the guardian to be at the heart of America’s spy programme.

Speaking to the BBCs Andrew Marr show Hague insisted that intelligence gathering undertaken by GCHQ is governed by a ‘strong legal framework’, adding: “The idea that in GCHQ people are sitting working out how to circumvent a UK law with another agency from another country is fanciful, it is nonsense. I can give people that assurance.

“If you are a law-abiding citizen of this country going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear about the British state or the intelligence services listening to your phone calls or anything like that.

“Indeed you’ll never be aware of all the things those agencies are doing to stop your identity being stolen and stop a terrorist blowing you up.

“But if you are a would-be terrorist, or the centre of a criminal network or a ¬foreign intelligence agency trying to spy on Britain, then you should be worried.”

Hague, who refused to confirm or deny whether the UK Government was aware of the existence of PRISM, is expected to make a speech expanding on this topic later this morning at Westminster.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.