Placing an entire population under surveillance whilst failing to adequately resource not only the intelligence agencies but those tasked with holding them to account, is both an unacceptable intrusion of our freedoms and creates nothing more than a chilling effect on free expression for anyone communicating in, or with, the UK.
Reprieve recently filed a complaint with the UK government regarding BT's role in facilitating surveillance that leads to killing. BT has persistently refused to come clean on its collaboration with intelligence agencies. We can only hope that the UK government can get from BT the answers we deserve.
It is very difficult to interrogate the legality of a programme of surveillance, when the people having done it, refuse to acknowledge it happened. The UK programme, called 'TEMPORA' has been a bone of contention since the start of these proceedings. GCHQ refuses to acknowledge that it exists, despite tacitly acknowledging it exists, by defending the legal basis for its existence.
Last week the Home Secretary once again advanced the argument for granting the intelligence services new powers, reigniting the debate over the proper limits of state surveillance. It's a familiar contest made more important by the legacy of the Snowdon intelligence leaks, and more urgent by recent events Iraq.
On this anniversary, I want to salute the bravery of Edward Snowden. His conscious courage has given us all a fighting chance against a corporate-industrial-intelligence complex that is running amok across the world. I hope that we can all find within us an answering courage to do what is right and indeed take back our rights. His bravery and sacrifice must not be in vain.