FULLY BOOKED Cyber snooping: A threat to freedom or a necessary safeguard?

This event will take place at the Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1JG.

Recent government proposals to allow increased police and intelligence agencies’ monitoring of email and social media communications have angered civil liberties campaigners who claim they are a breach civil liberties.

A new report by the think-tank Demos examines “the ethical, legal and operational challenges involved in using social media for intelligence and insight purposes”. Co-authored by former GCHQ director and ex-cabinet office security and intelligence chief Sir David Omand, it argues that police and intelligence agencies need to use social media as a form of intelligence but that laws need to ensure a balance is struck between security and intelligence work in this new environment.

Join us as we discuss to what extent security services should be able to monitor our cyber activity. Is this form of cyber surveillance a threat to the public’s civil liberties or necessary to keep them safe? Can a balance be struck?

The Demos report, entitled #intelligence can be downloaded here.

Chaired by Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s technology correspondent and author of the blog, dot.rory. Twitter:@BBCRoryCJ.


Isabella Sankey, the Director of Policy at Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) which she joined in November 2007. She leads Liberty’s parliamentary lobbying and policy development, working in particular on the protection of human rights in the context of counter-terror policy. As such, she was heavily involved with Liberty’s successful Charge or Release campaign against holding terror suspects for 42 days without charge. She is a non-practising barrister and previously worked for the Legal & Constitutional Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Rt Hon David Davis MP, Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden since 1997 and former Shadow Home Secretary. As a Minister in the last Conservative government he served in the Cabinet Office and the Foreign Office. In the latter, he was responsible for Security Policy and European Policy, overseeing the majority of the country’s international negotiations. In 2008 he resigned his seat and his position in the Shadow Cabinet to fight a by-election to highlight the Government’s undermining of civil liberties. After winning with a large majority, he returned to Parliament.

Jamie Bartlett, head of the violence and extremism programme at Demos. His primary research interests lie in terrorism, radicalisation and extremism, conspiracy theories and integration policy. He is the co-author of #Intelligence and in 2011 undertook the first ever survey of Facebook fans of far-right parties in Europe. Twitter: @JamieJBartlett.

Professor Anthony Glees MA MPhil DPhil, a professor of Politics at the University of Buckingham and director of its Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS). He has a specialist concern with Security and Intelligence issues and has written and lectured on aspects of the history of British intelligence, on the Stasi, on Islamism, on terrorism and counter-terrorism, and on subversion in western democracies both today and in the past.

Additional panelists to be confirmed.

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