Big Brother Watch response to President Obama speech on surveillance reform

Responding to President Obama’s speech on surveillance reform:

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said:

“President Obama is right on one thing – this debate makes us stronger. It is time for it to start in the UK.

“President Obama recognised public debate had been insufficient and that law has failed to keep pace with technological change. Both of these issues are more pronounced in Britain, but go unaddressed by the agencies.

“What is clear that Britain already lagged behind the United States in terms of surveillance oversight and accountability, with no involvement of courts or meaningful transparency. That gap is set to widen further still and that should be a call to action for Parliament.

“President Obama emphasised the need for judicial oversight by courts, greater transparency by the Government and companies and for the legal basis of surveillance programmes to be public. All of these issues should be pursued in Britain to protect our privacy and our economy.”

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Press Office | 3 Comments


  1. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    As a consumer we’ve had to sit there and watch whilst Microsoft did it, with NSAKey so we gritted our teeth and put up with it, then we had to watch whilst Apple did it, with Kerberos extensions and again we gritted our teeth and put up with it, now we have to watch whilst Google follow’s suit with it’s targeted advertsing, same spying tactics and google analytic’s whilst they’re trying to bring Open Source developers into the fold of adopting the Google Layer and the Apache 2 licence not the GPL or Open Standards License and again we’re expected to just grin, grit our teeth a bear it.. I have a solution, it’s called Unplug from the internet full stop.

  2. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    I have a dream, to one day see a service called the Unplugged Network… Where government surveilance and invasion of private peoples correspondance will become a thing of the past, where every connection to or from its servers will be secured by Client & Server certificates. Where equality will be for all, where connections will be automatically anonymised by the spoofing of the connecting parties Mac Address and where the government will be the one’s under surveilance by its people.

  3. Mike Sugar
    17th January 2014

    Much as I despise the uber-hoovering of all internet & telephone traffic, I have to, logically, accept the premise that it’s the from-to-where-when (i.e meta data) that’s at stake here.

    You would have to double the world’s connected population in order to physically read/listen to every exchange. That’s obvious. And obviously impossible.

    You would need massive computer power to sieve through all emails using 4,500 languages* and 46 alphabets ** So, whilst possible, it’s improbable.

    And then you have to deal with encryption.

    NB (=READ WELL): I am convinced that using freely available encryption tools I can create an unbreakable trail of messages, sent via SMS, email, steganography etc. Any enemy can do this – it’s child’s play.

    Bottom line for me is that the NSA/GCHQ surveillance is justified but that our governments utterly screwed it up through typical need-to-know arrogance, and thus, overkill.