GCHQ ran a programme that held an individual file on every visible user on the internet in the UK, and are about to do it again.
This week the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the mass surveillance programme carried out by the UK Government on its own people was unlawful. It proved vindication for Edward Snowden, the NSA Analyst who was vilified by authorities and much of the media, though he will have to continue to live out his life in hiding, currently believed to be somewhere in Russia.
The sheer magnitude of what the British Government chose to do to its own citizens is truly staggering. They created a mass surveillance programme on a depth and scale equal to that of Communist China. The grand chamber judgment is the culmination of a legal challenge to GCHQ’s bulk interception of online communications begun in 2013 by Big Brother Watch and others after Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations concerning the interception, processing and storing of data about millions of people’s private communications by the eavesdropping agency.
People’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression weren't just infringed they were completely ignored. All your internet browser activity, every website you ever visited, every phone-call you ever made the content of that call, who you spoke to, the content of every email and every text message you ever sent or received was captured by GCHQ and placed in a file with your name on it. This was going on in secret with no parliamentary governance or oversight whatsoever. Even those who were tasked with overseeing the intelligence community didn’t know what was going on.
A programme called Tempora was used to intercept massive amounts of data on the internet. Tempora intercepts on the fibre-optic cables that serve as the backbone of the Internet to gain access to large amounts of Internet users' personal data, without any individual suspicion or targeting. The intercepts are placed in the United Kingdom and overseas, with the knowledge of companies owning either the cables or landing stations. The existence of Tempora was revealed by Edward Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who leaked information about the program to former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in May 2013 as part of his revelations of government-sponsored mass surveillance programs. Documents Snowden acquired showed that data collected by the Tempora program is shared with the National Security Agency of the United States.
But it gets worse, much worse.
Documents obtained by The Intercept from the U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower revealed that GCHQ had operated a second programme to work in conjunction with Tempora called KARMA POLICE: GCHQ had carried out the KARMA POLICE operation since about 2008. The KARMA POLICE operation swept up the IP address of Internet users visiting websites. The programme was established with no <