British spies have tracked all ‘visible’ Internet users, report says

Which websites do you visit, and what else do you do on the Internet? It’s possible that the British spying agency GCHQ knows, according to a new report based on the Edward Snowden leaks.

Previous reports have revealed some details about the GCHQ’s surveillance activities along with the NSA’s mass spying in the United States and elsewhere. But an Intercept report introduces for the first time a program code-named Karma Police, which it says has the aim of recording “every visible user on the Internet.”

The details vacuumed up since the creation of the program in 2007, according to the report, include Internet radio listening habits, plus visits to porn sites, chat rooms, search sites and more. The oversight? Virtually non-existent, with the report saying British surveillance rules are more lax than those of the United States.

From the Intercept:

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.

The raw data is reportedly stored in what’s called the Black Hole before specific “probes” scoop up information the agency wants to analyze. The GCHQ uses IP addresses, cookies and other online metadata to figure out who’s doing what online.

What’s more, Karma Police is just one of what the Intercept says is “a bewildering array of other eavesdropping systems.” For example, a program called Marbled Gecko focuses on people’s searches on Google Maps and Google Earth. Infinite Monkeys looks at the use of online bulletin boards and forums.

The Intercept did not indicate that the GCHQ spying programs have stopped.

In 2013, former U.S. government tech contractor Snowden released documents he stole from the NSA. They detailed electronic mass surveillance not only by the United States but also Britain and others.


Photo from Associated Press


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  • ellafino

    I think it is pretty well known by now that everything you do online is being tracked by someone, government or non-government.