Innocent People Must be Spied On to Defend Against Terrorists, Says Ex-MI6 Boss

By Gerald Lynch on at

As David Cameron looks to potentially block encrypted messaging applications come the outcome of the next general election, ex-MI6 chief Sir John Sawers has stated that innocent people must be spied on in order to defend against terrorist attacks.

Speaking at the launch of the Edelman Trust Barometer in Central London (Sawers' first public talk since stepping down as head of MI6 last November), Sawer said that there can be no "no-go areas" of the web for security branches if terrorist threats are to be successfully thwarted.

"The Prime Minister was right when he was saying we can't afford to have no-go areas," said Sawer.

"We can't have no-go areas in our communities because that allows space for evil-doers to ply their trades and it is the same in the virtual world."

Sawers added that "people now understand that is not possible" for the security agencies to do their jobs without a holistic approach to internet traffic monitoring.

The former MI6 boss also suggested that while privacy concerns have "gained traction" in the wake of the Snowden leaks, the public may have been more accepting of surveillance techniques had more effort been made to educate people about security service's surveillance capabilities prior to the whistleblowing action. [Telegraph]