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'Fear of internet surveillance may have "chilling effect" on use of social media'

London, Tue, 24 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 24(ANI): Fear of the state surveillance of the Internet can have a "chilling effect" on the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, a former Whitehall intelligence chief has warned.

An ex-Cabinet Office security and intelligence coordinator and former director of the GCHQ electronic eavesdropping agency, Sir David Omand stressed on the need for monitoring social media.

A think-tank Demos report, which Omand co-authored, called for overhauling the existing laws regulating the interception of communications by police and intelligence agencies.

"Democratic legitimacy demands that where new methods of intelligence gathering and use are to be introduced they should be on a firm legal basis and rest on parliamentary and public understanding of what is involved, even if the operational details of the sources and methods used must sometimes remain secret," the Daily Express quoted, as saying.

According to the report, the intelligence gathered from social media, which it dubbed as "Socmint" could be a vital source of information in identifying criminal activity or providing early warning of disorder.

The report said called for the departmental review of how existing Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).

The report comes in the wake of a controversy over the UK Government's plans to extend the monitoring of all texts, telephone calls, emails and internet traffic in the UK. (ANI)


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