GCHQ, the UK Government’s secret electronics surveillance body, has finally denied that it was forging ahead with an ambitious plans to monitor web activity and telephone call details of users.
In a public statement, the electronics eavesdropping agency said that a proposed £1 billion “snooping” project at its high-tech complex at Cheltenham was rather tailored to help the agency to align with rapidly changing trends in internet technology.
The agency responded after the newspaper The Sunday Times reported that the proposed Mastering the Internet (MTI) programme would allow GCHQ to “spy at will” on web activities, including emails, social networking sessions, as well as telephone calls made over the web.
The reports suggest that the programme includes secret installation of several “black box” probes across the cyber infrastructure that would aid the Government to monitor and store the entire communications data of UK users.
It further went on to say that the government was continuing the ambitious project in spite of an assurance by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week, saying that the Government had called off plans to create a centralised database to record all the communications data of UK users.
Responding to the reports, the agency informed that the project was tailored to keep pace with changing internet technology. Along the same, it said in a statement, “We must reinvest continuously to keep up with the methods that are used by those who threaten the UK and its interests”.
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It is very unlikely that the GHCQ was ever going to confirm that it is indeed monitoring internet traffic in the UK. There are European laws that force Internet service providers and mobile phone to keep logs of all communications occurring within their systems.
(Liverpool Daily Post)