HUGELY intrusive powers to allow spy agencies to hoover up large volumes of data were given a clean bill of health yesterday by the government’s independent adviser on terrorism. David Anderson QC found, in his assessment of the Investigatory Powers Bill, that so-called bulk capabilities deployed by spooks at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have a “clear operational purpose.” Mr Anderson’s report said bulk powers “play an important part in identifying, understanding and averting threats in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and further afield.” The widely condemned techniques are used across the range of agency activity, from cyber-defence, counterespionage and counterterrorism to child sexual abuse and organised crime. But critics argue that the measures contained in the Bill are unnecessary and in blatant breach of the right to privacy. Liberty policy director Bella Sankey said the “rushed” review failed on a number of counts. “This was an opportunity to properly consider the range of targeted methods that could be used as effective alternatives to indiscriminate and potentially unlawful powers,” she said.