Lib Dems press for answers on secret Scottish spy system allegations

Scottish Liberal Democrats today increased the pressure over reports that Police Scotland operate a secret operation accessing communications data gathered by UK intelligence services.

Reports included in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that a policing body called the Scottish Recording Centre was given access to communication data including phone activity, internet histories and social media behaviour gathered through mass surveillance.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur MSP has tabled an topical question at Holyrood seeking answers over the role of the Scottish Government in the operation of the secretive policing unit. Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael MP will this week seek an urgent question over the revelations at Westminster.

Commenting, Liam McArthur MSP said:

“It is inconceivable that SNP Ministers were not aware of the establishment of this facility or the work that it does.

“We need to know what steps the Scottish Government took to ensure that a facility on Scottish soil, operating under the auspices of Scottish policing, was not complicit in invading our privacy.”

Alistair Carmichael MP added:

“In the House of Commons last week, Alex Salmond voted with the Liberal Democrats against Tory moves that would see our internet histories recorded and made available to the intelligence services. Now it seems that a centre established when he was First Minister was at the heart of the mass surveillance of our personal information.

“If the SNP government were not aware of what was going on this raises big questions over the role of the UK intelligence services and I will be pressing the Home Office for full transparency over the MILKWHITE programme. If they were aware and did nothing to raise the alarm then we need to be told why they were happy for Scots to be left in the dark.”

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