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MI5’s use of personal data was ‘unlawful’, says watchdog

The security service MI5 has handled large amounts of personal data in an “undoubtedly unlawful” way, a watchdog has said. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner said information gathered under warrants was kept too long and not stored safely. Civil rights group Liberty said the breaches involved the “mass collection of data of innocent citizens”. The high court heard MI5 knew about the issues in 2016 but kept them secret. “MI5 have been holding on to people’s data – ordinary people’s data, your data, my data – illegally for many years,” said Megan Goulding, a lawyer for Liberty, which brought the case. Read more

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London Bridge inquest: Investigators ‘unaware’ attacker reported to anti-terror hotline

The team investigating one of the 2017 London Bridge attackers was not told he had been reported to an anti-terror hotline, an inquest has heard. Khuram Butt’s brother-in-law had reported his increasing radicalisation in September 2015. In the same month MI5 assessed Butt as wanting to stage a terror attack but lacking the ability to do so. Eight people were killed in the attack he carried out with two other men. Read more

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Fears that council staff forced to ‘act as MI5’ to identify possible terror threats

Fears have been raised that council staff could be forced to “act as MI5” in helping to identify possible terror threats in Newcastle. Labour councillor Rebecca Shatwell told colleagues that the council must not become a “counter-terror operative” through its role in supporting the Government’s Prevent strategy, which intervenes with individuals to safeguard them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Read more