Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has welcomed the government’s decision to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the balance between privacy and security, following a series of GCHQ and NSA leaks published by the paper, tweeting ‘At last!’
The intelligence inquiry, chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, will investigate the extent and scale of mass surveillance carried out by Britain’s security services.
Commenting on the task Rifkind said ‘an informed and proper debate was needed’ four months after former NSA employee Edward Snowden began leaking a trove of sensitive documents.
Since that time the guardian newspaper has led calls for an inquiry in Britain into the volumes of personal data which are routinely sourced by GCHQ and the NSA in UK citizens.
This contrasts with statements made by Conservative MPs, from the prime minister down, which have criticised the guardian’s disclosures for damaging national security.
Rifkind added: “In recent months concern has been expressed at the suggested extent of the capabilities available to the intelligence agencies and the impact upon people's privacy as the agencies seek to find the needles in the haystacks that might be crucial to safeguarding national security."
Part of the inquiry will be held in public.