Sunday, December 14, 2014

How the UK Spies on its Friends

A few week's ago German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on how telecommunications companies have been helping the UK's Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) to tap submarine cables.

The report, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, revealed some details about submarine cables currently tapped by GCHQ. The Süddeutsche Zeitung investigation included Submarine Cable Taps, an interactive map that revealed which undersea cables were tapped by GCHQ and which cables were not mentioned in the leaked GCHQ documents.

Yesterday The Intercept reported on how the UK's GCHQ also hacked Belgacom, Belgian's largest telecommunications provider. By hacking into the Belgacom network GCHQ were able to monitor communications transmitted between Europe and the rest of the world.

The Intercept investigation also includes a submarine cable map which illustrates Belgacon's links with its international partners in the USA, Africa and the Middle East. The map also shows the locations of Belgacon's points of presence in Europe.

The Intercept claim that GCHQ were so successful in their covert hacking that they were able "to intercept encrypted and unencrypted private data passing through (Belgacon's) networks".

In related news, yesterday Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported their discovery of a massive organised surveillance operation which appears to be aimed at eavesdropping on phone calls and tracking the movements of Norwegian government ministers and officials. You can read more about that story in Who is Spying on Norway?.

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