GCHQ’s Karma Police Has Been Watching Everyone Online

/ 5 years ago


The British intelligence services have been engaging in a mass surveillance program, the likes of which have never before been known, which has been recording the online browsing habits of “every visible user on the internet”. Through its program, dubbed Karma Police, the UK government’s intelligence and security organisation GCHQ has been collecting metadata on every person with an online footprint since 2009, documents obtained by The Intercept have revealed.

Karma Police, which was operating independent of any judicial oversight, collated the websites visited, usernames, and passwords, amongst other information, like instant messaging conversations, e-mails, mobile phone communications, and social media behaviour in what it calls “pattern of life”, on whoever it pleased in one of its data centres in Cornwall.

One report reveals how GCHQ, concerned about a pirate radio station broadcasting passages from the Quran, used Karma Police sub-program Blazing Saddles to identify and track its listeners by tracking them through Yahoo, Skype, and Facebook. One particular Egyptian listener attracted GCHQ’s attention, with surveillance records on the man showing that his internet activity included “Redtube, as well as Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Google’s blogging platform Blogspot, the photo-sharing site Flickr, a website about Islam, and an Arab advertising site.” Actions undertaken without warrants, without oversight, and without our knowledge.

‘This is what you get when you mess with us,’ indeed.

Thank you The Intercept for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Privacy International.

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