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    UK interior minister Sajid Javid is expected to announce a new counter-terrorism strategy stipulating increased data-sharing between the security services and the private sector, including quick alerts that allowing MI5 to address a threat rapidly. Sputnik has discussed the issue with Professor Helen Fenwick, Professor of Law, Durham University.

    Sputnik: MI5 is expected to share the information of 20,000 UK citizens suspected of having terrorist sympathies… How significant is this?

    Helen Fenwick: That sharing of information has been occurring before, obviously it’s going to take some time to share that information and I think they’ll probably be selective in terms of deciding how high risk someone is before they start sharing it [the information] with local services; so I do think it’s significant. Information is obtained from various sources and is then disseminated more widely. There will have to be safeguards in terms of data protection. In other words, its security information going to a wide range of sources, so for example there may need to be an avenue where an individual can challenge the dissemination of information. Some form of check will have to be put into place to add to the specific dissemination they are talking about; even it doesn’t involve individual challenges. 

    READ MORE: MI5 to Get Quick Alerts to Crack Down on Terrorists Under New Security Strategy

    Sputnik: How effective will these new measures be do you think and what’s at stake here?

    British man Michael Adebolajo (L) walks by a line of local people linking arms in reaction to a planned demonstration by members of the English Defence League (EDL) near Harrow Mosque in London on September 11, 2009
    © AFP 2019 / JUSTIN TALLIS
    Helen Fenwick: Well I suppose what’s at stake is say for example some person or a group of persons who already come to the attention of MI5 have moved areas, perhaps from one local authority to another, the idea would then be to alert the second local authority that these people are now living in this new area, or perhaps to particular movements of them. Maybe they have associates in that area, are living in that area or visiting that area which could be significant in possibly planning another attack.  

    Sputnik: Should ordinary law abiding people be afraid of an infringement of liberties from these sweeping new strategies?

    Helen Fenwick: It depends on exactly what checks on are in the information. The answer is of course it couldn’t be ruled out that there could be a case of mistaken identity, or some form of mistake could have occurred down the line of data selection. There will have to be some form of check, but exactly what form of check that will take we do not know. We don’t know at the moment what sort of checks these dissemination will be subject to. 

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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