New leaks emerge from Snowden documents

2013-06-22 23:05
 (Phillipe Lopez, AFP)

(Phillipe Lopez, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Britain's intelligence services are tapping cables that carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and are gathering vast amounts of data, according to leaked documents from US ex-intelligence technician Ed Snowden, who faces spying charges in the United States.

The claims, published on Saturday by The Guardian newspaper, sparked a fresh outcry from privacy campaigners and surfaced as the United States filed criminal charges against 30-year-old Snowden and asked Hong Kong, where he has fled to, to detain him.

In a sign of growing international tensions, Germany said on Saturday that Europe would need Britain to clarify the latest allegations.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who made the comments, added that the accusations would be a "catastrophe" if they are true.

A US justice department official meanwhile confirmed that a sealed criminal complaint has been lodged with a federal court in the US state of Virginia and a provisional arrest warrant has been issued.

Snowden faces charges of theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information, and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorised person. Two of the charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.

The Guardian reported that Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has started processing vast amounts of personal information, ncluding Facebook posts, emails, internet histories and phone calls, and is sharing it with its US partner the National Security Agency (NSA).

In reaction, however, GCHQ said it was "scrupulous" in its compliance with the law and declined to comment further.

The Guardian reported that GCHQ was able to tap into and store data from the cables for up to 30 days, under an operation codenamed Tempora.

"It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," Snowden told the newspaper.

"They [GCHQ] are worse than the US."

Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong in May, has since proceeded to leak details of secret US intelligence programmes to international media outlets.

Tempora

The Guardian claimed Tempora had been running for 18 months and GCHQ and the NSA were able to access vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people.

It also said that the intelligence-gathering directly led to the arrest and jailing of a British terror cell, the arrests of others planning acts of terror, and three London-based people planning attacks prior to the city's 2012 Olympic Games.

The Guardian said the documents it had seen showed 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.

The two main components of GCHQ's surveillance programme are called "Mastering the Internet" and "Global Telecoms Exploitation", the daily said, adding that the operations were all being carried out "without any form of public acknowledgement or debate".

The Guardian added that it understood NSA staff and US private contractors had access to GCHQ databases.

Hong Kong officials remained tight-lipped on Saturday as to whether Snowden had been approached by the law enforcement authorities or was still a free man.

Police commissioner Andy Tsang told reporters it was "inconvenient" to disclose details of the case.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Britain-based human rights pressure group Liberty, expressed shock at the latest revelations.

"I'm shocked -- but not surprised. Clearly they (GCHQ) are exploiting the fact that the internet is so international in nature," she told the BBC.

"And I'm pretty sad in a democracy when all that appears to be holding back the secret state is its physical and technological capability, and not its ethics or a tight interpretation and application of the law."

However, former foreign and defence secretary Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament's intelligence and security committee, told the BBC that all agencies like GCHQ used the latest technology to gain intelligence.

But he added: "If GCHQ wants to know the content of your or my email, they have to go through exactly the same legal procedure of getting a warrant from the secretary of state, regardless of whether they are going to intercept the emails themselves, or whether they are going to ask the NSA or someone else to do it."

Read more on:    nsa  |  gchq  |  edward snowden  |  privacy

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Bellville - 06:08 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between the R300 Highway and the Durban Road exit
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:39 AM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism and criminal activity there are NO trains and NO replacement Bus Services between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.