British MPs demand probe

June 08, 2013 06:37 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:20 pm IST - London

A military no trespassing sign is seen in front of Utah's NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah on June 7, 2013.

A military no trespassing sign is seen in front of Utah's NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah on June 7, 2013.

Prime Minister David Cameron was on Saturday facing growing pressure from MPs to order an investigation into claims that the government’s eavesdropping hub GCHQ had been secretly gathering personal information about British internet users with the help of a controversial American spyware Prism .

There were calls for Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May to explain how much they knew about the operation and how many people could be affected.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP and chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he was “astonished’’ by the revelations describing them as a “snooper’s charter through the backdoor’’’ .

“I think what we’d like to know is, has this actually had the authority of ministers and how long has it been going on for? This is not the traditional route of spookology because normally you would go and get an order and that order would be subject to proper accountability and judicial process,’’ he said.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said Mr Hague must come to the House of Commons and make a statement — a demand also made by a number of ruling coaliton’s own MPs.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Tory chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said he was expecting “a full report from GCHQ very shortly and will decide what further action needs to be taken as soon as it receives that information”.

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