In a first ever live media interview given by a senior British intelligence official, the head of MI5 called for a more up-to-date and transparent surveillance powers.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today program, Andrew Parker said telecom companies have a responsibility to help monitor suspected terrorists and paedophiles.
However, he failed to say if he actually supported the initiative strongly opposed by telecoms, as they fear it would undermine their customers’ trust and civil liberties.
“It is completely for ministers to propose, and parliament to decide. It’s a fundamental point about what MI5 is. It’s for us to follow what’s set by parliament, and that’s what we do.”
He said it was important the law was updated so it was “modern and transparent” and “describes as straightforwardly as it can what MI5 does these days”.
The call for more surveillance is part of the "Snooper's Charter“, a surveillance bill proposed by Home Secretary Theresa May.
The "Snooper’s Charter” would require internet and phone companies to store for 12 months the internet browsing browsing histories of their customers along with detailed records of voice calls, messaging and text services.
It would also require the companies, including those based abroad such as Google, and Facebook, to give the police and security services access to this bulk data of their customers.
Facebook has recently been battling the US government over data it has stored on servers in Dublin, and both Apple and Google have recently implemented encryptions in their mobile operating systems to prevent tapping into phone calls, messages and browsing history.