A SUPPOSED independent reviewer for the Snoopers' Charter worked at UK spy agency GCHQ for five years.
MPs have already voted in favour of a third reading of the Investigatory Powers Bill, by a margin of 444 to 69, despite a huge backlash from people and pressure groups who want to see the bill shredded and never spoken of again.
David Anderson QC, an independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has condemned the bill and has now started a new review.
"I will be asking whether the government has established a robust operational case for the bulk powers it says it needs, and examining whether similar results could have been reached by other, less intrusive, means," he said.
But on further inspection, one of his team, "technical advisor" Dr Robert Nowill, worked for the spy agency which has been accused over the past few years of using intrusive measures to conduct mass surveillance in the UK.
Nowill worked as director of technology and engineering, a senior role at GCHQ, between 2000 and 2005, according to his LinkedIn page.
Curiously, his position before the GCHQ role was as a senior scientist at Shape Technical Centre between July 1985 and September 1988, meaning that 12 years' worth of work isn't listed on his LinkedIn page.
A page dedicated to Anderson's review said that Nowill held "a number of technical and operational roles" at GCHQ before becoming director of technology, suggesting that he spent more than a decade, and perhaps even as long as 17 years, at the spy agency. Nowill also had a position at the Ministry of Defence.
Anderson said he had a free hand to recruit "specialist assistance with top-level security clearance" to help with the review.
He explained that Nowill "brings to the review an understanding of the processes involved in the exercise of the powers under review, and will have the opportunity to test the technical assertions made to us by the agencies".
Anderson claimed that he wanted to answer the most basic question of whether the bulk powers are really needed at all, but privacy campaigners don't expect Anderson's ‘independent' review to come up with anything new.
Since leaving GCHQ in 2005, Nowill has held a role at BT and is currently chairman of the government-backed Cyber Security Challenge. µ
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