David Omand was the Director of GCHQ, from 1996-1997, and the UK’s security and intelligence coordinator from 2000-2005. If you don’t know already, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces.
He has just published this new paper “Understanding Digital Intelligence and the Norms That Might Govern It.” The paper does have government’s perspective on the whole internet governance topic, a topic which has gained a whole lot of significance & attention after Edward Snowden’s revelations. But it is definitely an interesting read.
Executive Summary:
This paper describes the nature of digital intelligence and provides context for the material published as a result of the actions of National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Digital intelligence is presented as enabled by the opportunities of global communications and private sector innovation and as growing in response to changing demands from government and law enforcement, in part mediated through legal, parliamentary and executive regulation. A common set of organizational and ethical norms based on human rights considerations are suggested to govern such modern intelligence activity (both domestic and external) using a three-layer model of security activity on the Internet: securing the use of the Internet for everyday economic and social life; the activity of law enforcement — both nationally and through international agreements — attempting to manage criminal threats exploiting the Internet; and the work of secret intelligence and security agencies using the Internet to gain information on their targets, including in support of law enforcement.
He suggests that the norms applicable to digital intelligence, must broadly cover the following. This is definitely reassuring:
  • There must be sufficient sustainable cause
  • All concerned must behave with integrity
  • The methods to be used must be proportionate
  • There must be right authority
  • There must be reasonable prospect of success
  • Necessity
The full paper is available here:
Picture courtesy: www.cigionline.org

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