Plans to give firm legal backing to mass data collection and hacking by Britain’s spies do not do enough to protect privacy, a watchdog has warned.
The extent of the intelligence agencies’ computer and internet spying operation has recently become clear.
The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is meant to put it on a firm legal footing.
But the Intelligence and Security Committee says the bill lacks clarity and is a “missed opportunity”.
Committee chairman, Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, said: “We had expected to find universal privacy protections applied consistently throughout, or at least an overarching statement at the forefront of the legislation.
“Instead, the draft bill adopts a rather piecemeal approach, which lacks clarity and undermines the importance of the safeguards associated with these powers.
“We have therefore recommended that the new legislation contains an entirely new part dedicated to overarching privacy protections, which should form the backbone of the draft legislation around which the exceptional powers are then built. This will ensure that privacy is an integral part of the legislation rather than an add-on.”
The Home Office is due to publish a final, amended version of the bill later this year.