The former head of MI6 has hit out at ‘striking and disturbing’ invasions of privacy by the Big Brother state.
Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, claimed some were an ‘abuse’ of the law.
He attacked the ‘loss of liberties’ caused by expanding surveillance powers and described some police operations as ‘mind-boggling.’
The former spy chief joins a growing number of high-profile critics warning that individual freedom and privacy are being seriously eroded by the Government’s disproportionate efforts to guard against terrorism.
Sir Richard was particularly critical of what he claimed were inadequate laws to regulate some surveillance powers.
Commenting on the massive surge in police use of stop-and-search powers in London, he highlighted the fact that Scotland Yard officers have carried out more than 150,000 searches since 2007.
This compared with fewer than 300 in Manchester. Sir Richard said: ‘That is a mind-boggling statistic. That may well be an abuse of the law.
‘I am a great believer in proportionality and as a citizen I worry about the loss of my liberties.’
He questioned the legal constraints on the use of millions of CCTV cameras across Britain, saying: ‘We have constructed a society which has great technical competence – and some of that competence isn’t particularly regulated.