Top UK Security Official: It's Legal to Spy on You Online

A piece of new graffiti street art, claimed to be by the secretive underground guerilla artist Banksy, which appeared on the side of a house in Cheltenham on April 14, 2014, in Gloucestershire, England, just a few miles from the British spy agency GCHQ's headquarters.

The UK government can legally spy on all online communications — including data on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google — according to Britain’s most senior security official.
Charles Farr, the director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, justified the UK government's collection of vast amounts of citizens' online data without individual warrants by saying it goes through "external communications," or on servers based outside of the country, so it has less strict legal protection.

This is the first time a UK official has revealed legal justification supporting the mass surveillance of Internet communications carried out by the GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA in the United States. Farr's statement was filed during a legal challenge against the GCHQ's electronic surveillance program, Tempora, which is used to collect data by tapping fiber optic cables. The program was exposed last year by documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Under the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), communications between British citizens can only be intercepted with an individual warrant. "External communications," however, are fair game.
Farr's argument is that the GCHQ can intercept communications — even those between British citizens — if they go through sites based in the U.S. or outside the British Islands.
Privacy advocates who filed the lawsuit against the GCHQ criticized Farr's justification.
"British citizens will be alarmed to see their government justifying industrial-scale intrusion into their communications,"
"British citizens will be alarmed to see their government justifying industrial-scale intrusion into their communications,"Michael Bochenek, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty International, said in a statement. "The public should demand an end to this wholesale violation of their right to privacy."

"Intelligence agencies cannot be considered accountable to Parliament and to the public they serve when their actions are obfuscated through secret interpretations of byzantine laws," Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, a digital rights advocacy group, said.

No comments:


© 2012 Học Để ThiBlog tài liệu