back to article Leaked docs: GCHQ spooks secretly haul in more data than NSA

The spooks at Brit intelligence agency GCHQ have been secretly tapping hundreds of fibre-optic cables to slurp data, according to leaked documents seen by The Guardian. This massive interception effort operates under two programs titled, rather modestly, Mastering the Internet (as reported on by El Reg four years ago – Ed) and …

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Black Helicopters

If you've nothing to hide and nothing to fear, you've got nothing - so why are they still listening?

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Jos

Right

So I suppose you also don't close your street-side curtains at night then eh?

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g e

Re: Quoting Terry Pratchett???

So, to quote yet more fiction...

The concept is valid no matter where it originated

Dark Star

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Re: Quoting Terry Pratchett???

or yet even more fiction: If This Goes On. R.A. Heinlein

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Anonymous Coward

If you've got nothing but fear, then you've got nothing to hide.

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Big Brother

Very good!

So come here to have your surveillance chips implanted please. Also, you would not mind if we put some cams in your bedroom I guess, you've got nothing to hide, right, mister AC?

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Silver badge

Re: If you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to fear.

If you've got nothing to hide, then you're doing it wrong.

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Thumb Up

Re: Quoting Terry Pratchett???

Good grief. I agree with Eadon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very good!

"So come here to have your surveillance chips implanted please. "

Okay, if they did that, then lets have a think about what it would mean:

No more crime - it would be impossible to commit a crime and not be caught, so the end of murders, violence, abuse and theft.

No need for any locks or any other kind of security.

And at what price? Our privacy? You can already be legally put under 24/7 surveillance and cameras are everywhere. Downvote me as much as you like, but for me personally the "pros" of a surveillance chip, would far outweigh the "cons"

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Nothing to hide ?

If the governments have got nothing to hide, why are the pursuing the leakers like Edward Snowden ?

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FAIL

Re: alain williams Re: Nothing to hide ?

".... why are the pursuing the leakers like Edward Snowden ?" Gee, you don't think that whole breaking the law thing might be a reason? Beyond HTH.

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Stop

Re: Very good!

"No more crime - it would be impossible to commit a crime and not be caught, so the end of murders, violence, abuse and theft."

Erm. Really? Surely you can not be naive enough to think it would be that simple. Human nature is a funny thing. Many crimes are committed without getting caught playing any part in it.

"No need for any locks or any other kind of security."

Suit yourself. I will keep my locks on the doors thank you very much.

"And at what price? Our privacy? You can already be legally put under 24/7 surveillance and cameras are everywhere. Downvote me as much as you like, but for me personally the "pros" of a surveillance chip, would far outweigh the "cons""

"

The highest price. Obviously. You might not care, but you see, I do care. And that to some extent proves the point, we don't all think or behave alike.

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Re: Very good!

I'm confused - the "no crime" AC seems to want a job as Home Secretary, but can't really want that, because he hasn't put his name to it , so can't want to be a Home Secretary ...

Ohhhhh, got it - he wants to be a civil servant in the department of minding everybody else's business. Still a tosser, though.

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Re: Very good! (AC 07:59)

Until the government decides that posting as an Anonymous Coward on The Register is a crime and locks you up. At that point you might rethink your willingness to be implanted witha surveillance chip.

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Though I have to say, some of the details coming out make GCHQ sound quite a fun place to work. A 5m by 3m screen in their 'operations centre'. I always imagined that kind of spy film cliche was just that - apparently truth is right up there with fiction this time.

And think of all the crazy shit that goes on there that we'll NEVER know about. Their pay may well be crap, but such sights to see....

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Silver badge

Or if you're like Gareth Williams you could end up having your dead body found in a holdall and your private life dragged through the media.

Funny how the government treats GCHQ so carefully with D notices which seem to be aimed at scaring the media but at the same time seems to show little if any care towards the individuals that actually work for them.

I think it's more than crap pay that they have to worry about.

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Unhappy

(@ kparsons84)

Their pay may well be crap, but such sights to see....

I'd bet good money that many of 'them' are complementing their meagre pay with blackmail, industrial espionage and some 'insider trading' at the stock market.

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It's:

much more fun at the place where most of the "work" is done.

GCHQ Hanslope Park

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Windows

Really?

Live nearby. Know many GCHQ staff personally. Chances of enough of them not being on long-term medical leave or sitting in planning meetings to actually pull anything useful with this off - small digit next to zero. Thank god for British bureaucracy!

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Paris Hilton

That's an awful lot of porn for anyone to watch.

But I'm sure they're giving it a damn good try.

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Re: That's an awful lot of porn for anyone to watch.

Why Pa.... Nevermind.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Facepalm

Re: Guardian only slag off the tory govts.

Well, to be fair the Guardian has been beating up Obama pretty heavily over the U.S. side of these revelations. He's the most leftist U.S. president since at least Jimmy Carter, and quite,possibly since FDR.

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Re: Guardian only slag off the tory govts.

They're all the same. Congress was corrupted fully when they created the committees with Chairmen for each.

This way you don't have to control the entire Congress but just have one person who is either loyal or has enough dirt on him to put him in jail for life. Then the Administration put on a show pushing stupid issues as in good vs evil to keep the morons "extreme left or right voters attention" and then avoid passing any good laws and just keep pushing oppressive laws or secret ones. Set up a few faux courts with rubber stamps and put a few candidates up for presidents that with electronic voting and voting law restrictions and you have a figurehead and nothing more to do whatever the people pulling the strings want.

Sure Congress might get something done but they would have to have all the committee heads, the speaker of the house, and whoever runs the senate removed or somehow have their power stripped or neutralized.

If something does pass the President just vetos it or the Courts call it illegal and nothing happens.

Unless the populations just rise up "unlikely" and make them physically or by means other than by current laws this will keep going.

I see it and I'm starting to not care about it, me, or anything anymore since giving a crap does nothing and most people can't even comprehend anything past what the news tells them or their church. We're screwed and we can't do a thing about it.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Guardian only slag off the tory govts.

"Why didn't the guardian tell us this stuff when Labour were in power? EH?

GUARDIAN LEFTIE BIAS FAIL"

That would be down to the minor issues they are currently having with time travel in order to be able to take the story which broke this month and then travel back 2 years to tell the story when labour was in power!

Rumour has it the DeLorean failed its MOT and that's whats stopping them. That and the carbon footprint of doing over 80mph in a classic sports car is too much for them to handle.

Paris, just because......

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Anonymous Coward

TL;DR

The UK really hates freedom; after all...

* It's Illegal to possess _drawings_ of underage children naked (or having sex) which criminalizes a lot of Japanese anime/manga/visual novels (erotic or not erotic)/etc.

* Illegal to use Encryption (Okay, it's not illegal; failing to hand over keys is, so you might as well say it is...)

* Have no right to silence if you'r being investigated for Terrorism or Fraud (This could easily be abused - "He's not talking. We think he murdered his wife." "Make it a terrorism charge, then he has to talk.")

* Have no Double Jeopardy (Abolished to make terrorism charges "stick")

* Have the Police kicking down your door the next morning if you say anything remotely "offensive" or disagreeable on Twitter/Facebook

* They've made it so all porn has to be censored by default before the end of 2013, and if you want porn, you have to opt-out (which most likely has you appearing on some kind of "is a pervert/child molester" list - all because parents are too lazy to monitor their own kids)

* Blocking websites (mainly torrent sites, but we all know it won't stop there)

* Female ejaculation is illegal (because female ejaculation is classified as "urination" and urination in a sexual content is illegal under UK obscenity law)

* ISPs have to retain logs of every site visited etc. by somebody for over a year

...I could go on.

The UK is in dire need of a revolution.

But everyone is too lazy or disagrees.

So maybe they deserve to live in the fascist, 1984-style mess they've created for themselves.

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PT
Big Brother

Re: TL;DR

The UK is in dire need of a revolution.

Can't disagree, but how would you organize one? Can't use the phone, can't use email. If you walk from house to house the cameras will identify you. If you use carrier pigeons the Government will probably invest in nets.

The irony is that if the Internet had existed in 1776, America would probably still be a British colony.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TL;DR

My SSID is published and I don't restrict access to my WiFi using WPA etc.

If we all did this, tracking/logs would be meaningless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TL;DR

"It's Illegal to possess _drawings_ of underage children naked (or having sex)" - I don't think that's anti-freedom. I am happy with this being illegal.

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Re: TL;DR

Nice Botticelli alterpecee you've got there - you're knicked you perv

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TL;DR

By this logic, racing games should be illegal. After all, speeding is a crime.

First person shooters too. Again, murder is a crime.

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TaLe;DiRect

Does America need British Recognition and Recolonisation to Share Fabless Success Freely with AI and Virtual Machines in Full Autonomous Control of Territorial Systems?

Would an intelligent friend not openly share secret intelligence systems so that benefits and deficits are inclusive with executive action rather than it remaining exclusive to private pirate use and public misuse ..... Collective Systemic Abuse.

Is that one of the tales winging its way to Moscow DiRect from Hong Kong?

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Linux

How to organise a revolution.

Use TOR.

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Silver badge

Re: TL;DR

Murder isn't illegal if the state provides you with the weapons and a uniform and points you at the brown people over there. It's like killing zombies; guilt free murder for everyone!

Therefore expect games like "GTA" and "Watchdogs" to be hit with massive criticism whilst CoD and MW games are held up as paragons of technology and design.

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Megaphone

Re: TL;DR

"The UK is in dire need of a revolution."

But the cops are too effective. Look at all the effort they put into spying on leftie groups and eco-nutters with undercover cops and agent provocateurs in there for years. I wonder if they'd try putting an undercover cop in a group of people who might actually hurt them if their cover was blown or if the DCI's H&S paperwork would be too daunting.

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Re: " I don't think that's anti-freedom. I am happy with this being illegal."

Then you REALLY don't grasp the realities of the situation. If no harm is done (and a drawing causes no harm), then there is no need to prevent it. If we could get the lawmakers to realise this, then we'd be a lot better off.

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Re: How to organise a revolution.

hahahaha

You really think TOR would keep you safe?

You think the governement doesn't have it's own nodes in the network?

Would you like to buy a bridge? Just one careful owner.

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Big Brother

Uses of intelligence data ..

"Over 300 GCHQ and 250 NSA analysts sift through the data, which they use to identify communications relating to security, terror, organized crime, and economic well-being"

Such data being correlated and then passed on to a select few top US corporations. For instance, in a bidding war, it helps if you know before hand what the other fellas negotation strategies are or the minium bid on a contract is going to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Uses of intelligence data ..

Guardian actually mentioned that the GCHQ product is passed to eight hundred and fifty thousand NSA workers!

(There may well be just 550 top analysts but this enormous treasure trove of our data needs nearly a million UKUSA-Staatssicherheit employees to look at it in depth)

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Silver badge

Re: Uses of intelligence data ..

Presumably, one who can read, one who can write and 848,998 to keep an eye on the two dangerous intellectuals.

Nice to have an opportunity to recycle an old stasi joke.

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h3

The UK never really cared about freedom apart from for the aristocracy.

The US only pays lip-service to caring about freedom because they cannot be seen to ignore the constitution.

In reality they only care about it when it is affecting what they want. All this type of stuff was exactly why they hated the soviet union. (and they complain about China doing exactly the same type of thing but at least not lying about it).

(And the people setting up America realised that it was fairly likely sooner or later that without checks their government one would be the corrupt one. Now nearly all of the constitution is basically ignored. The thing is if they actually followed it they would be what they pretend to be no need to b*llsh*t about it.)

I think eventually the Chinese way will be better due to the people in power not being lawyers but engineers and people who actually can systematically solve problems.

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It's not about boring old "me"

Before we get flooded with "I've nothing to hide/doesnt affect me" posts -What about your independently minded MP or other Union/Professional representative? think what pressure might be brought to bear on them from this surveillance. What about Researchers/ Opinion leaders. There are many people that we rely on that could be neutralised by this surveillance....

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Devil

The uses of surveillance ..

"what pressure might be brought to bear on them from this surveillance. What about Researchers/ Opinion leaders. There are many people that we rely on that could be neutralised by this surveillance"....

There's a story that J. Edgar used bring each new President into his office and get show his own F.B.I folder. Don't worry says J. Edgar, your little indiscretions are safe with me. Now what's your position on increasing state surveillance powers and upping the F.B.I budget and you will keep me on as dictator..I mean director ...

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Anonymous Coward

"many people that we rely on that could be neutralised by this surveillance...."

Spot on (e.g. President's own FBI folder)

Each day that passes, this looks more like a cross between 1984, Animal Farm, and (Gilliam's) Brazil. And not in a good way.

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Post Levinson

The media are only annoyed that they can't tap or hack into people's conversations anymore. Given the chance, Murdoch's press gang would be tapping the fibrous cables of minor celebrities before you could say Lord Levinson.

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Facepalm

Grow up people

What exactly do you expect your intelligence and law enforcement agencies to do with the Internet and any communications medium?

I expect them to monitor chatter looking for interesting key words and then apply for a warrant to then read such interesting data, and find out 99%, probably, that it isn't.

For that 99% I expect them to treat it as confidential information, and forget it, which they do.

For the 1% I expect them to act.

And in fact that's what I expect them to do for everything, and that's what they always have done.

What do you expect them to do, how else do you expect them to do it? Even if you have a warrant for a specific person, you still have to find that person's traffic, and how do you issue a warrant for an unknown group, if you you can't monitor chatter to find them.

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Big Brother

Re: Grow up people

"I expect them to monitor chatter looking for interesting key words and then apply for a warrant to then read such interesting data, and find out 99%, probably, that it isn't."

I am sure that most people won't have a problem with the authorities listening in to "public" chatter - that's what the old "Bobby on the beat" used to do, as in, keep an eye open for anything (publlically) suspicious.

What people DON'T want is the authorities steaming open our letters, installing cameras in our bedrooms and generally treating everyone (apart from said "authorities") as a latent crimimal!

They also don't want plod to be kicking their door in because they happened to twit the word "darkie" or "bomb" or "prism".

mb

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WTF?

Re: Grow up people

So, it's the age old argument that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Cute but stupid.

The assumption that the spooks just doing a massive data trawl is somehow smarter that the people they are trying to catch is a nice idea but some how you are living in a rather cosy fantasy world. Ask yourself, what would happen if the blackhats decided to use TOR? After all, this can't be bad can it, it was developed by the US Navy. Then you can't tell what is being said to whom. Source and destination are scrambled and the payload is encrypted. Even if they present you with a message you have sent, you CAN'T give them the keys because you don't have them.

What the spooks in the UK/US are doing is the equivalent to steaming open every bit of mail sent, in the hope that some will lead to finding a blackhat. Not too much between this and some spy interpreting what was said as some indication of a terror plot, and getting you arrested for the fact that they think you might be saying something wrong. Guilt by incorrect interpretation.

Security has a price. In by view we are paying too much for it these days. We have given away privacy and with out privacy we have no freedom.

Oh, and before you ask, I am on right of centre in politics and even I feel this.

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Re: Grow up people

Which would be all well and good but it seems to be getting far to easy to get arrested for saying or looking at the wrong thing in the UK at the moment, that coupled with the governments penchant for making laws retrospective, makes all this data surveillance a little disconcerting. Sure maybe I've got nothing to hide today but who's to say what will be illegal tomorrow?

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WTF?

Re: JonP Re: Grow up people

".....getting far to easy to get arrested for saying or looking at the wrong thing in the UK at the moment...." Really? Like who? Please do loosen up the tinfoil and supply some evidence of all these people you claim are being arrested in the UK for saying or looking at the wrong thing. Otherwise it might be presumed you are just talking out of your paranoid rectum.

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