Oversight or Theatre? Surveillance and Democratic Accountability

5 February 2016, 09:30 - 18:00

Wolfson Hall, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

This event is free and open to all. Please register via Eventbrite.


Britain’s laws on surveillance, interception of communications and other covert activities of the security and intelligence services are widely regarded as unsatisfactory and inadequate. The government has published a draft Investigatory Powers bill which aims to rectify this, by placing all the powers deemed necessary by the state under one statute. The draft bill has been widely discussed, and is currently being scrutinised by a Joint Committee of the Houses of Commons and Lords. Given the scope and extent of the legislation, and the torrent of comment that it has already attracted, it would be impossible to encompass all aspects of the draft bill in a single day, so we have selected five areas for consideration, in the hope that the resulting discussion can usefully be fed back into public debate and Parliamentary scrutiny of the legislation.


Contributions to this topic by the Technology & Democracy project so far:


Registration and Coffee


Welcome and Introduction

10:00 - 11:30

Panel 1: Oversight and Control

  • Chair: David Runciman
  • Speaker: Conor Gearty and Judith Townend
11:30 - 11.45


11:45 - 13:00

Panel 2: Internet Connection Records

  • Chair: John Naughton
  • Speakers: Richard Clayton, Lorna Woods and Ray Corrigan
13:00 - 13:45


13:45 - 15:15

Panel 3: Equipment Interference

  • Chair: Nora Ni Loideain
  • Speakers: Ross Anderson and Ian Walden
15:15 - 15:30


15:30 - 16:45

Panel 4: Proportionality and Scope

  • Chair: David Erdos
  • Speakers: David Vincent, Nora Ni Loideain and Andrew Murray
16:45 - 17:45

Panel 5: Impositions on Companies

  • Chair: Julia Powles
  • Speakers: Julian Huppert and Adrian Kennard
17:45 - 18:00


  • Speakers: David Runciman, Julian Huppert and John Naughton