MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — Law enforcement agencies need to restore the public trust they lost after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the scope of government surveillance, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London said.
"There is work to be done to restore the public's trust that we are acting in their best interests," Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was quoted by The Guardian as saying Thursday in New York.
According to Hogan-Howe, law enforcement agencies should find the proper balance between an individual's right to privacy and security.
"We need to ensure that where law enforcement accesses private communications there is a process of authorization, oversight and governance that gets the balance right between the individual's right to privacy and their right to be protected from serious crime," said Hogan-Howe, stressing that the intrusive surveillance tools should be used "only where necessary."
According to the senior police official, serious security threats arise with the sophistication of the encryption and security measures on the private communication devices – a trend that has continued following Snowden's revelations. Internet risks becoming a "dark and ungoverned space," warned Hogan-Howe.
Snowden fled the United States in June 2013 after leaking information about extensive electronic surveillance programs conducted by the US government around the globe, including eavesdropping on American citizens and foreign leaders.
Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia and was subsequently granted a residence permit until 2017. He is wanted in the United States on several charges, including espionage and government property theft, and could face up to 30 years in prison.
Snowden's revelations have spurred a worldwide debate on mass surveillance, personal data collection and the balance between privacy and security.