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Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

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Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by Guest on 07.06.13 18:36

Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Home Secretary Theresa May is coming under pressure to investigate claims Britain's electronic listening post GCHQ has been gathering data through a secret US spy programme.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs committee, said the allegations were "chilling".

According to The Guardian, GCHQ had access to data covertly gathered from leading internet firms in the US.

GCHQ said it operated within a "strict legal and policy framework".

The Guardian says it has obtained documents showing that the secret listening post had access to the Prism system, set up by America's National Security Agency (NSA), since at least June 2010.

'Astonished'

The documents were said to show that the British agency had generated 197 intelligence reports through the system in the 12 months to May 2012 - a 137% increase on the previous year.

The newspaper said that the Prism programme appeared to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to obtain personal material, such as emails, photographs and videos, from internet companies based outside the UK.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, said: "I am astonished by these revelations which could involve the data of thousands of Britons.

"The most chilling aspect is that ordinary American citizens and potentially British citizens too were apparently unaware that their phone and online interactions could be watched.

"This seems to be the snooper's charter by the back door. I shall be writing to the home secretary asking for a full explanation."

The UK's data protection watchdog the information commissioner, also raised concerns about the report.

"There are real issues about the extent to which US law enforcement agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens," the watchdog said in a statement.

"Aspects of US law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to US agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK's own Data Protection Act.

"The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the US government."

GCHQ issued a statement in which it did not deny The Guardian's story.

'Right balance'

A spokesman for the agency, based in Cheltenham, said: "GCHQ takes its obligations under the law very seriously.

"Our work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee."

US spies have been accused of tapping into servers of nine US internet giants including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google in a giant anti-terror sweep. All deny giving government agents access to servers.

But the Prism programme has been strongly defended by James Clapper, director of US national intelligence.

And President Barack Obama said it was closely overseen by Congress and the courts and that his administration had struck "the right balance" between security and privacy.

He also stressed that the surveillance of phone call "metadata" did not target US citizens or residents and government agencies were not listening to telephone calls.

But civil liberties campaigners in the UK have said they are deeply concerned about the allegations.

'Serious issue'

Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, a long standing campaigner against the government's proposed Communications Data Bill - dubbed a "snooper's charter" by critics - said he would "raise the issue as soon as possible in Parliament".

The data bill, which would have authorised the retention of every UK citizen's web browsing records, was dropped because the Lib Dems did not support it.

But the home secretary has talked of its importance to national security, following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "There are legal processes to request information about British citizens using American services and if they are being circumvented by using these NSA spying arrangements then that would be a very serious issue."

He added: "If British citizens have had their emails and social media messages seized by the US government without any justification or legal authority, serious questions must be asked at the highest levels."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22813893



affraid

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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by PeterMac on 07.06.13 21:55

There is also a school of thought that thinks that if the Security Services were NOT doing this on our collective behalf . . .
I do not wish to be nail-bombed, crashed into, shot, decapitated, . .
I am content that the nature, and if necessary the content, of all my e-mails be available to the security services.
If I wish to act illegally I shall not use email, nor a phone network.


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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by Guest on 07.06.13 22:14

I think you're right, Peter. As long as you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide and cannot be held accountable for the wrong reasons.
But, but there's a but ... What if "they" think, YOURS are the wrong reasons?
We ALL want to be safe. But living is dangerous, we'll all die because of it ...
It is all becoming a bit too much of "Big Brother" for me lately ...

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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by Tony Bennett on 07.06.13 22:42

Châtelaine wrote:I think you're right, Peter. As long as you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide and cannot be held accountable for the wrong reasons...
That's what Alexander Solhenitsyn thought.

At least we got the informative 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' out of him.

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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by PeterMac on 08.06.13 9:04

It is of course a difficult area.
What is interesting is the number of times recently where the security services - various - have said they were already tracking the persons concerned in various atrocities.
These are not random attacks by total unknowns.
The problem lies within our adversarial system of justice, and lack of proper means of dealing with mere threats.

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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by Tony Bennett on 08.06.13 9:23

@PeterMac wrote:It is of course a difficult area.
What is interesting is the number of times recently where the security services - various - have said they were already tracking the persons concerned in various atrocities.
These are not random attacks by total unknowns.
The problem lies within our adversarial system of justice, and lack of proper means of dealing with mere threats.
If we still had the Sedition Act, which we foolishly abolished in 2009 (see below), then most of these Islamist terrorists - who are constantly planning murderous attacks on various people, and whom we appear to be 'tracking' - could be prosecuted for sedition. There's not much use 'tracking' hundreds or thousands of islamists if some of them are going to murder fellow-citizens while they're being 'tracked'.

At least they're jailing the six Islmasists who were driving all tooled up to murder members of the English Defence League.

Whatever else may be said against the likes of the BNP and the EDL, and quite a bit could be said against them, they don't, so far as I know, go around planning to kill people.

And these Islamists say they are doing it for their god

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

United Kingdom [edit]

Sedition was a common law offence in the UK. James Fitzjames Stephen's "Digest of the Criminal Law" stated that "a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt, or to exite disaffection against the person of His Majesty, his heirs or successors, or the government and constitution of the United Kingdom, as by law established, or either House of Parliament, or the administration of justice, or to excite His Majesty's subjects to attempt otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established, or to incite any person to commit any crime in disturbance of the peace, or to raise discontent or disaffection amongst His Majesty's subjects, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such subjects.
An intention to show that His Majesty has been misled or mistaken in his measures, or to point out errors or defects in the government or constitution as by law established , with a view to their reformation, or to excite His Majesty's subjects to attempt by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established , or to point out, in order to secure their removal, matters which are producing, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of hatred and ill-will between classes of His Majesty's subjects, is not a seditious intention."
Stephen in his "History of the Criminal Law of England" accepted the view that a seditious libel was nothing short of a direct incitement to disorder and violence. He stated that the modern view of the law was plainly and fully set out by Littledale J. in Collins. In that case the jury were instructed that they could convict of seditious libel only if they were satisfied that the defendant "meant that the people should make use of physical force as their own resource to obtain justice, and meant to excite the people to take the power in to their own hands, and meant to excite them to tumult and disorder."
The last prosecution for sedition in the United Kingdom was in 1972, when three people were charged with seditious conspiracy and uttering seditious words for attempting to recruit people to travel to Northern Ireland to fight in support of Republicans. The seditious conspiracy charge was dropped, but the men received suspended sentences for uttering seditious words and for offences against the Public Order Act.[20]
In 1977, a Law Commission working paper recommended that the common law offence of sedition in England and Wales be abolished. They said that they thought that this offence was redundant and that it was not necessary to have any offence of sedition.[20] However this proposal was not implemented until 2009, when sedition and seditious libel (as common law offences) were abolished by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (with effect on 12 January 2010).[21] Sedition by an alien is still an offence under section 3 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919.[22]
In Scotland, section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 abolished the common law offences of sedition and leasing-making[23] with effect from 28 March 2011.[24]

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Re: Concern grows over GCHQ Prism spying allegations

Post by Guest on 09.06.13 9:21

Ministers to reveal British link to US data spying scandal


MPs demand to know if UK spies bypassed law on intercepts, as Google denies allowing security agents access



MPs want to know whether any of the intelligence supplied by the US about UK citizens was handed over to GCHQ in breach of British interception legislation. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

Ministers will respond in parliament on Monday to claims that UK intelligence agencies have gained access to a vast reservoir of private data relating to people living in Britain – including emails and phone logs – collected by spies at the US National Security Agency.

Amid growing calls for the government to reveal what it knows about the data interception scandal revealed by the Guardian last week, senior Whitehall sources said it was "highly likely" that a statement would be delivered to MPs in the Commons either by the foreign secretary, William Hague, whose department is responsible for GCHQ, or the home secretary, Theresa May

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jun/08/ministers-british-link-us-spying-scandal

Did these surveleillance's stop the Woolwich killing, Boston bomb? links to "Prism" doesn't a "Prism" distort things?

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