Past event

Research Event

Surveillance in an Information Society: Who Watches the Watchers?

Chatham House, London

International Security Department, Cyber and Nuclear Security

Event documents

Transcript - Professor Sir David Omand GCB, Duncan Campbell, Geoffrey Robertson QC
pdf | 167.91 KB
Transcript Q&A - Professor Sir David Omand GCB, Duncan Campbell, Geoffrey Robertson QC
pdf | 153.72 KB


Professor Sir David Omand GCB, Visiting Professor, King's College London; Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Cabinet Office, UK (2002-05)
Duncan Campbell, Investigative Journalist
Geoffrey Robertson QC, Founder and Head, Doughty Street Chambers
Chair: Dr Patricia Lewis, Research Director, International Security, Chatham House


The Snowden revelations have sparked considerable debate over what national intelligence agencies should be allowed to do with personal digital data, and where the divide between security and civil liberties should be drawn.

The amount of global information being generated through web-based communication and mobile usage is vast and, hypothetically, extremely useful in making intelligence-based linkages between terrorists. However, recent reports around the Prism database and large-scale internet filtering seem to suggest that some national intelligence services have obtained access to numerous data centres under legal authorities that are either secret or interpreted more widely than publicly believed.

The panel will discuss these recent revelations and explore the potential implications for national intelligence agencies and individuals. They will also consider the potential long-term political, social and economic impacts and whether this will persuade people to review their internet activity and pay more attention to privacy.