MI5: Technology Terror Risk

Advances in technology are allowing terrorists to communicate “out of the reach of authorities”, head of MI5 Andrew Parker has told the BBC.

The serving boss of the UK’s home security agency told the Today programme it was becoming more difficult to obtain online information.

He said internet companies had an “ethical responsibility” to alert agencies to potential threats.

But MI5 was not about “browsing the lives” of the public, he added.

Ministers are preparing legislation on the powers for carrying out electronic surveillance.

Mr Parker, in the first live interview by a serving MI5 boss, said what should be included in new legislation was a matter “for Parliament to decide”.

But Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said while she agreed that existing surveillance legislation was “inadequate”, she was concerned about “any attempt to seek a blank cheque from the British public for unlimited surveillance”.

Meanwhile, a highly critical report from David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, warns forthcoming separate legislation to ban extremism could provoke a damaging backlash in Muslim communities.

The lawyer said in his annual report that if the new laws were too widely drawn, they could play into the hands of people trying to encourage extremism and terrorism.

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