Eversheds says the value of UK security hearing is questionable

Ahead of a public hearing that saw the respective heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ face questions from a panel of MPs on issues of UK security and cyber threats, Paula Barrett, partner and international head of privacy and information law at Eversheds, commented.

Barrett said that the revelations from Snowden continue to have ‘a huge ripple effect’ on trade relations, as well as on the progress of new legislation on data protection and cyber security.

She added: ‘However, for those calling for transparency, the very fact that this is being held in public is a step forward — an uncomfortable couple of hours for those at the top of these organisations, but once again an opportunity to air in public that cyber snooping is real and not just the domain of spy novels.

‘What controls are placed on this, or perhaps more pointedly how enforcement of controls will be engaged on this most secret of activities, will more likely be debated in the coming weeks behind closed doors as the attitudes of EU officials harden in the face of trade talks and legislative debate on the new EU data protection laws.’