Can spying be principled in this digital age?

The question of how far a state should authorise the peacetime collection and use of intelligence gathered by secret agents and by interception of communications has long been a thorny issue of public policy. Today, new ethical and legal questions arise from the ability to access in bulk personal information from social media and from Internet use and to apply artificial intelligence trained algorithms to mine data for intelligence and law enforcement purposes. In his talk Sir David Omand, a former director of GCHQ, will lay out an ethical framework for thinking about these powerful developments in modern digital intelligence.

Professor Sir David Omand GCB is a visiting professor in the War Studies Department, King’s College London and at PSIA, Sciences Po, Paris. He was previously UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Director, GCHQ. He is the author of Securing the State (Hurst, 2020) and, with Professor Mark Phythian, Principled Spying: the Ethics of Secret Intelligence, (Oxford University Press, 2018).