Now the Guardian says that the British spy agency GCHQ has a program called “Tempora” more recent but broader than the “Prism” of the US National Security Agency, to spy on phone calls and Internet activity of citizens.
The British are tapping directly fibre-optic cables to collect secretly “vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal” says in an exclusive report The Guardian
This program, always according to The Guardian gives to the British and US spy agencies the possibility to “access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects, including recordings of phone calls, content of emails, entries on Facebook or the history of any internet user’s access to websites”, says the British newspaper.
So entirely innocent people can be watched in many ways secretly by these governments on the name of the war on terror, having their right to privacy completely disregarded.
President Obama defended the program Prism in his speech in Berlin several days ago and talked about “balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of privacy”.
“Our current programs are bound by the rule of law, and they’re focused on threats to our security – not the communications of ordinary persons. They help confront real dangers, and they keep people safe here in the United States and here in Europe. But we must accept the challenge that all of us in democratic governments face: to listen to the voices who disagree with us; to have an open debate about how we use our powers and how we must constrain them; and to always remember that government exists to serve the power of the individual, and not the other way around”.
That’s what he said. Now is the time to listen at the voices who disagree with a program like the one he was talking about and like this last revealed by Snowden, carried by the British, that according to the report is more aggressive than the one carried by the NSA. Now is time for the British Government to explain what is doing and with what purposes.
The problem here is the power the governments have now in their hands with the new technologies to spy on their citizens if they want to do it. They say is to prevent terrorist attacks and it has been useful. But the power is that it is there available for other purposes if they want it. That is a fact. In the US, the program Prism was under the control of the Congress and the Courts. In the UK it seems “Tempora” was completely secret, according to the report.
There is a right to privacy in free counties they say, but in this moment the fact is that nobody knows who and when is watching. It seems you have to assume that in this new world post 9-11, when you place a phone call or write an email or visit a website you can be under surveillance.
Until now you could suspect maybe a hacker was trying to attack an stole your data, which was already an annoyance and considered a crime. But now the states can call on National Security and watch you secretly even if you are a complete innocent person, no related to the investigation they are conducting, according to Snowden. And there is no crime. They make the rules. So if you don’t want to be watched better go back to the pen and paper or the old typing machines, the old stamps and the post offices.
Government Communications Headquarters
National Security Agency