Press comment: NSA spying, GCHQ and Prism

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “There are legal processes to request information about British citizens using American services and if they are being circumvented by using these NSA spying arrangements then that would be a very serious issue.  

“The wider legal authority of the surveillance that the US Government has been undertaking is being disputed by very senior figures and it is essential that questions are asked at the highest levels to ensure British citizens have seen their privacy intruded upon without adherence to the proper legal process or any suspicion of wrongdoing.”

“If British citizens have had their emails and social media messages seized by the US Government without any justification or legal authority, serious questions must be asked at the highest levels.

“The revelations call into question the integrity of cloud services that are used by millions of non-US citizens every day, while setting a dangerous precedent that less-democratic regimes around the world may rush to copy. How many Members of Parliament, business leaders and key security figures use US-based services that may have been compromised?

“Surveillance without suspicion is an affront to a free society and it is essential that we get to the bottom of the NSA and US Government has being doing and how British citizens may have seen their privacy compromised on a vast scale.”