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Avatar Samantha Ai

Tempora revealed in Edward Snowden documents

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Posted (edited)

British eavesdropping agency GCHQ has secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data, according to documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The agency is able to tap into and store data from the cables for up to 30 days so it can be analysed under an operation codenamed Tempora, the Guardian reported. The Cheltenham-based agency would not comment on intelligence matters but insisted it was "scrupulous" in complying with the law.

The newspaper said there were two principal components to the agency's surveillance programme, called Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation. It claimed the data was shared with the organisation's US counterpart the National Security Agency (NSA).

*snip*

The newspaper claimed Operation Tempora had been running for 18 months and GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access vast quantities of communications between innocent people as well as targeted suspects, including phone calls, the content of email messages, Facebook entries and a user's internet history.

Mr Snowden, who fled the US for Hong Kong after deciding to reveal the NSA's secrets, told the Guardian he wanted to expose "the largest programme of suspicionless surveillance in human history". "It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," he said. "They (GCHQ) are worse than the US."

The Guardian reported that GCHQ lawyers told US counterparts there was a "light oversight regime" in Britain compared with America. A GCHQ spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on intelligence matters. Our intelligence agencies continue to adhere to a rigorous legal compliance regime. GCHQ are scrupulous in their legal compliance."

The newspapers said the documents revealed that by last year GCHQ was handling 600 million "telephone events" each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time.

*snip*

Snowden: GCHQ worse than US on data

Edited by The world needs you

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Seems to me in all likelihood several dozen countries are doing this sort of thing, so stopping it one place only denies that place helpful info and gives an advantage to the others.

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I'm really not sure what i think about all these Whistleblowers and their Revelations. It does sometimes seem as if these people (often employees of these very organisations) seem to want to sabotage them in any way they can, and make it impossible for them to do their jobs. People so often say what a mighty cokcup the Bush Administration made in disregarding the warnings they had of 9/11, but they seem to want to make it impossible for the Intelligence services to do their job of intelligence gathering. I mean, if they had to do it by the strict Letter of the law, and only monitor known suspects with due process of Law, then well, they'd never get any suspects in the first place, would they? Someone only becomes a Suspect by doing something to draw attention to themselves, and by then it might be too late. I appreciate all the arguments about the sinisterness of everything you might say being eavesdropped on by the Authorities, and a Minority Report-type scenario where they might decide whether someone might be likely to do soemthign Wrong before they've even thought about it would obviously be a very sinister development, but i do see the argument in allowing the Spooks to look out for possible discussions of sinister intentions.

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