Here was a simple aim at the heart of the top-secret program: Record the website browsing habits of “every visible user on the Internet.”
Before long, billions of digital records about ordinary people’s online activities were being stored every day. Among them were details cataloging visits to porn, social media and news websites, search engines, chat forums, and blogs.
The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
The revelations about the scope of the British agency’s surveillance are contained in documents obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Previous reports based on the leaked files have exposed how GCHQ taps into Internet cables to monitor communications on a vast scale, but many details about what happens to the data after it has been vacuumed up have remained unclear.
Amid a renewed push from the U.K. government for more surveillance powers, more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQ’s existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.
One system builds profiles showing people’s web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on “suspicious” Google searches and usage of Google Maps.
The surveillance is underpinned by an opaque legal regime that has authorized GCHQ to sift through huge archives of metadata about the private phone calls, emails and Internet browsing logs of Brits, Americans, and any other citizens — all without a court order or judicial warrant.
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So, Britain’s GCHQ has been caught at it and we all know some of what the NSA is up to.
In truth, it doesn’t matter who or where you are – unless you’re one of the global elite. You are being profiled and tracked, whether it’s being done legally or illegally. It doesn’t matter to them. They’ll do it, anyway, so you can be profiled, then manipulated and controlled, and perhaps eliminated if you’re too outspoken or seen as a risk to the elite and their plans.
We’ll see more stories like this, from every country. It’s all the same game, and you and I are a pawn in that game.
Will enough people have the courage and the will to disarm them in some manner? I suspect we’ll know soon enough. It’s almost crunch time.
I was reminded of this article by Preston James, yesterday. I consider it to be a fairly accurate if graphically expressed summary of what’s in play and has been for a long, long time.