International Intelligence Review Agencies Conference 2014

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, attended the International Intelligence Review Agencies Conference (IIRAC) in London on 7-9 July 2014.


The IIRAC has been in existence since 1997.  Its purpose is to develop informal relationships between intelligence and security oversight bodies, provide the opportunity to discuss international trends and compare models of democratic accountability. Since 1997, attendance at the conference has grown to include delegates from a variety of countries, some of whom already have formal intelligence oversight functions and others that are seeking to develop them.  Delegates include elected politicians that sit on their nation's legislative intelligence oversight committees, and non-elected appointees or officials, such as New Zealand's Inspector-General, that monitor the work and performance of their respective intelligence agencies.

This year's conference, the 9th, was jointly hosted by the UK oversight bodies, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner.  It focused on the complex balance between protecting the individual's right to privacy and ensuring the collective right to security.  It provided an expert forum for oversight bodies from 15 countries to:

  • Identify what global trends could drive the investigative work of intelligence agencies between now and 2020 and what challenges these will create for intelligence oversight and review bodies

  • Discuss how oversight bodies can become more visible and transparent

  • Consider current public expectations of privacy and the challenges posed by the proliferation of social media

  • Exchange ideas and compare models of accountability, including lessons learned and good practice

  • Support countries in the development of intelligence oversight mechanisms, drawing on the experience of countries with existing structures

Conference delegates were joined by a number of external speakers, including senior academics, internet commentators and representatives from The Guardian, the BBC and Facebook

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