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Germany, France, Spain carry out mass surveillance, too

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A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spy agencies in Germany, France, Spain and Sweden are carrying out mass surveillance of online and phone traffic in collaboration with Britain, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the Guardian newspaper reported Saturday.

Britain’s GCHQ electronic eavesdropping centre — which has a close relationship with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) — has taken a leading role in helping the other countries work around laws intended to limit spying, the British newspaper said.

The report is likely to prove embarrassing for governments including those of Germany and Spain, which had denounced earlier reports that the NSA was electronically spying on their citizens.

Saturday’s report said the intelligence services of the European countries, in a “loose but growing” alliance, carried out surveillance through directly tapping fibre-optic cables and through secret relationships with communications companies.

The newspaper has previously reported that GCHQ taps transatlantic fibre-optic cables.

On Saturday it quoted a 2008 country-by-country survey by GCHQ of its European partners, plus a later report by the British agency on efforts to crack commercial online encryption, both of which it said were among documents leaked by Snowden from the NSA.

In the survey, GCHQ said that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was tapping fibre-optic cables and had “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the internet”, while British spies were helping the Germans to change or bypass laws restricting their ability to intercept communications.

Spain’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI) assisted through a relationship with an unnamed British communications firm, it said.


Written by voiceoftruthusa

November 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm

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