British security services cleared of illegal data allegations
The UK parliament have declared that the allegations that British security services illegally accessed information from the US are unfounded.
It announced today that Britain's electronic surveillance agency did not circumvent the law by using data gathered by a clandestine US spy programme, PRISM.
Former US security contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM last month, lifting the lid on what he said was a vast surveillance system that vacuumed up emails and phone data. Leaked documents showed that this data was sometimes handed over to Britain's security services.
Parliament's intelligence and security committee launched an investigation into allegations Britain's GCHQ surveillance agency circumvented British laws protecting the privacy of communications by accessing data from the US programme.
"From the evidence we have seen, we have concluded that this is unfounded," said the committee.
A thorough investigation had shown the reports GCHQ compiled using US intelligence were put together legally, it said. The agency possessed a warrant for interception signed by a government minister each time it asked for information from the United States, it added.
However, the committee said it would be "proper" to study whether the laws governing electronic eavesdropping by spy agencies were strong enough.