‘NSA, GCHQ criminals way ahead of the law in Britain and US’

March 2, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: RT

There are people trying to make money on the data leak scare, introducing new gadgets, but it doesn’t stop GCHQ or the NSA intercepting the data on its way through the telecommunications network, investigative journalist Tony Gosling told RT.

On Feb. 27, The Guardian published new leaks from Edward Snowden  claiming that the UK’s GCHQ, with the assistance of the NSA,  routinely intercepted and stored webcam images in secret by means  of the specially created “Optic Nerve” program.  According to Snowden’s revelations, 1.8 million Yahoo users had  their webcam images collected by the agency in the space of six  months after “Optic Nerve” was first rolled out.

RT: Clearly they got more than they  bargained for with all those revealing images, but surely the  purpose of spying is intelligence gathering, and that’s  essentially what they’re doing, for counterterrorism purposes. So  why is there such a backlash over this?

Tony Gosling: This has got nothing to do with  counterterrorism, has it? Because this is just yet another great  data troll and there are all sorts of reasons why it is illegal.  Apparently this sort of thing has to be sanctioned by the Foreign  Secretary or Home Secretary at the highest levels, and in the US  it has to be sanctioned through the secret FISA court, but there  are very good reasons why the people that have committed this  actually should be or are criminals. I’m talking about those who  authorized it at government level, in GCHQ and the individual  operators that have been collecting this data. I mean all of  these things we’ve heard about spyware being put on viruses, put  on our computers, our computers being stopped on the way to our  homes to have this spyware, this kind of thing put on it, we also  have denial of service attacks that is taking out websites of  campaign groups and that sort of thing by GCHQ and by the NSA.  But this is actually the most creepy so far. Using webcams, it’s  like an intruder into your living room and it’s not just  happening to people who counter terrorism, there is everybody  they are after here.

RT: Why Yahoo? Is there any suggestion why  Yahoo collaborated?

TG: Yahoo have come out and said they are  extremely annoyed about this. The Guardian reports they are  fevered in their denial of this kind of things because of course  this is massively damaging to Yahoo. And the privacy and the  trust between the Yahoo’s users and the organization. I think we  will find they have already been fighting in some ways, these  Internet companies, with the NSA and GCHQ in the courts. But this  will make it even more important to Yahoo to be able to defend  their reputation by stopping this kind of thing going on. But a  lot of people are saying why it does matter, if you have done  nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide. But I’ll tell why  it matters. That’s because these people should be going to get a  warrant to stop these mass data trolls. That’s about time that we  learn from our history and make sure that these laws to stop this  mass data trolls are enforced.

RT: If Edward Snowden can leak highly secure  information, then how easily could these very personal images get  in to the wrong hands? How safe is all this information?

TG: Generally most of the organizations like  Yahoo do put a lot of effort into making sure that their data is  secured while traveling across the Internet. Unfortunately,  what’s happening is that there are people who are trying to make  money on this data scare, for example Bayen has just introduced  its black phones which do encrypt the data on the phone itself  but it doesn’t stop someone like GCHQ or the NSA intercepting the  data on its way through the telecommunications network. And so  really what happens is that criminals are a way ahead of the  legislation both in Britain and in the USA.