Systematic data monitoring of almost all internet activity by US and UK governments is exposed

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In many ways – we all saw this coming. The United States government has been systematically spying on / monitoring / hacking / stealing our private data, and their tame poodle, Britain, has finally got the pat on the head it was hoping for after years of sycophantic support and been granted access to this illicit data jack.

The US federal government has long used transparent figleafs called NSL’s (National Security Letters) to secretly request specific data (without a warrant) from major internet companies and internet service providers. The expose by The Guardian is however the first indication we have had that the NSA and the FBI have direct access to the servers of such companies as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype through an operation known as Prism. The developers of Prism say it can collect "email, chat (video, voice), videos, photos, stored data, VoIP [internet phone calls], file transfers, video conferencing, notifications of target activity – logins etc, online social networking details" and another category called "special requests". Which leaves what untouched exactly?

While Prism opens a back door into all these companies, the US seems to have doubled up with another form of legally questionable monitoring called Upstream which lifts data directly from fibre cables and infrastructure. President Obama, who is rapidly losing all of his liberal credentials as his expansion of the secret state is exposed, has admitted the existence of the programme, even as executives from Google, Facebook, Yahoo and all the companies involved deny any knowledge or tacit co-operation.

But while America behaves in an ever more Orwellian fashion, using ‘terrorism’ as its catch all justification for a state of perpetual war and the eradication of once inalienable civil liberties, this kind of encroachment into privacy is firmly illegal in the UK. Indeed it makes the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ that has come under such fire look positively tame. So basically, GCHQ – and by extension – our government are illegally collecting our private information through their American proxy, and in this wonderfully globalised world, our rights would seem to be worthless, our state apparatus would seem to have gone rogue, and our basic rights – our basic liberties are being subsumed by the shadows of the secret state. Tea anyone?

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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