This GCHQ research report dated 20 September 2011, cowritten by researchers at Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research based at the University of Bristol, concerns the use of data mining techniques to develop usable intelligence as well as the contradictions that arise from the use of algorithms to identify wrong doers, or potential wrong doers. The paper also provides a great deal of background information on GCHQ operations and the detailed discussion of network theory demonstrates the power of metadata collection: see the Boing Boing article Doxxing Sherlock, 2 February 2016.
This GCHQ presentation from July 2011 discusses various technical aspects of “population-scale” datamining: see the Intercept article Profiled: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities, 25 September 2015.
UK MPs have been told that, not only is the legal regime governing GCHQ likely to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, many of the agency’s activities are illegal even by current domestic standards.
Jemima Stratford QC and Tim Johnston were asked to prepare the opinion for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drones. While APPGs have no formal powers within the UK political system some – like the APPG on Extraordinary Rendition – have done important investigatory work in areas where formal oversight has been lacking.
While legislative proposals based on this opinion have already been tabled, its primary importance is likely to be its foreshadowing of issues the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) could adjudicate on this year in the case Big Brother Watch v United Kingdom. In the past, the Strasbourg court has played a decisive role in forcing changes to UK surveillance practices and it has never before been asked to consider the legality of mass surveillance.