PRISM controversy: Gordon Nardell QC joins debate

PRISM controversy: Gordon Nardell QC joins debate


In the wake of revelations that GCHQ has obtained UK citizens’ communications data gathered by the US National Security Agency under its PRISM programme, an article in the Sunday Times included comments by Gordon Nardell QC about the legality of the process. Gordon, who advises the telecoms and computing sector on privacy and data protection issues, was quoted explaining that GCHQ’s behaviour is unlikely to be lawful because it has sidestepped the protection provided by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 – “it’s a bit like your data being subject to extraordinary rendition”. Many EU governments and the European Commission have expressed concerns, while the UK government insists that it has acted lawfully. In a letter published in the Guardian, Gordon pointed out that the uncertainty causes problems for comms and cloud computing businesses operating internationally, and urged the EU legislature to tighten the rules in the draft Data Protection Regulation about information flows out of the EU.

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