NPR : News

Report: U.K. Spy Agency Taps Trans-Atlantic Fiber Optic Cables

The drip-drip of classified information has now moved overseas: Citing more classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Guardian newspaper reports that the British spy agency taps into trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables, sucking up vast amounts of data that includes communication sent by Americans and Britons.

The big claim here is that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the equivalent of the NSA, sucks up that information in an indiscriminate manner. The NSA has access to the information.

Here's how The Guardian describes the program:

"The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

"One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

"GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

"This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets."

The newspaper quotes an unnamed source with knowledge of the program as saying that while the program collects a lot of information, it does not have the "resources" to look at it.

"If you had the impression we are reading millions of emails, we are not. There is no intention in this whole programme to use it for looking at UK domestic traffic — British people talking to each other," the source told the paper.

Snowden told The Guardian that the GCHQ is "worse than the U.S."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Logo Channel Dedicates Annual Awards Show To Orlando Victims

On Saturday Logo TV, the largest LGBT-focused network, will honor "trailblazers" in the gay community. In light of the shootings in Orlando, the telecast has taken on a more poignant resonance.
NPR

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
NPR

Tracing The 43-Year History Of The U.K. In The European Union

The U.K. joined the European Union in 1973, hoping to gain from the booming economies on the continent. Historian Timothy Garton Ash explains the reasons why, and how the relationship soured.
NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.