In an interview with the London Guardian, Edward Snowden said British intelligence is permitted to go further in surveillance than similar agencies in other Western countries. He said he believes that the powers of British intelligence are not restricted effectively enough by law or policy. Despite the UK government publicly claiming that the regulation of spy activity is strict, GCHQ’s private documents suggest the opposite is true.
“You’ve got their own admission in their own documents that we’ve got a much lighter oversight regime than we should have, full stop,” Snowden said. ”That’s what they’re talking about. They enjoy authorities that they really shouldn’t be entitled to. The lack of legal restrictions leads to UK intelligence being able to target more people than is necessary.”
Tempora (GCHQ’s Internet surveillance program) is really proof that GCHQ has much less confining legal restrictions than other Western governments’ intelligence agencies. Taking that into account, Snowden said he is sure that UK citizens could be the ones on whom intelligence techniques could be tested, to then be used by all of the other so-called Five Eyes partners–Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. ”And what that means is UK citizens and UK intelligence platforms are used as a testing ground for all of the other Five Eyes partners,” he said.