A weak programme, with poor journalistic standards
This was a very weak programme, with sub-tabloid quality journalism.
The Snowden involvement just seemed like bait to get people to watch a programme that was largely an uncritical platform for the usual pro-surveillance propaganda. Perhaps they were so pleased at securing an interview they forgot their journalistic principles.
There were numerous highly contentious comments made, particularly by Mark Giuliano (FBI Deputy Director), that were essentially unchallenged, e.g. encryption is fundamentally bad, and should only be available in a broken form; and that social media platforms should in effect be spying for the government. David Anderson did offer some dissent to the latter but offered the pearl that government agencies needed to collect all data even when the targets are known, which seemed to undermine his position on judicial warrants, something the programme failed to pick up on.
The BBC's narrow obsession with “balance” means it does not appreciate that merely including Eric King (PI) for “balance” is not the same as good journalism. At no point did the programme attempt even to suggest, let alone explore, the possibility that there might be legitimate uses for secure encryption. And it did not properly consider the question of balancing the interests of law-enforcement against a reasonable expectation of privacy, including from government agencies, for those who were not the subject of an investigation.
The fact that otherwise competent main-stream journalists fail to understand or convey some of these important issues — even in a programme that referred explicitly to surveillance proposals currently being considered by the UK government — means they are failing to inform, and failing to hold the government to account. Such failings allow democracy and the rights of the individual to be undermined.
Going by this programme, investigative journalism is dead at the BBC.