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UK Spies Snoop On Social Media In A Bid To Battle Terrorism

Mass snooping is now legal by law

The issue of online security has always been a raw one and one that occasionally bubbles up to the service and causes mass panic with everyone suddenly fleeing to change their passwords sharpish. The 'enemies' in most cases would normally be some mystery hacks whose day consisted of attempting to steal information from unsuspecting victims.

snoop on social media
Source: cyberalert.com

However, it has recently been revealed, after being exposed by former CIA official Edward Snowden, that these 'enemy hackers' were less of a mystery than we first thought with intelligence agency GCHQ — a UK intelligence service — being exposed as legally able to snoop on our use of social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Google.

The revelation was made as part of legal battle with campaign group Privacy International who had called the policy "patronising".

Charles Farr, the Director General of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism told PI that the sites involved such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google "could be intercepted without the need of additional legal clearance" as they were classed as "external communications". These sites could technically be snooped on due to them being operated from foreign servers.

snoop on social media
 Source: investigate.co.uk

This legal loophole met with some more animosity with the Human Rights Group Amnesty International stepping in to the public's defence. The group's senior director Michael Bochenek said "The Government's argument is flimsy at best. It's disgraceful that they are bypassing UK laws-developed over decades — to protect the right to privacy — on a technicality."

While 'exteral' communications could legally be snooped on without an extra warrant, communications that were deemed 'internal' — such as communications between citizens — is a different matter and needs approval before action is taken. This 'internal' communications could only be intercepted when a targeted warrant was issued. Such a warrant needs to be first signed by a minister and can only be issued if there is suspicion of illegal activity.


Hi my name is Julie! Fresh out of university studying journalism, I love to have a good laugh and I believe in always keeping an open mind. In my spare time, if you don't catch me between two pages of a book, you'll most likely find me in front of the computer or the TV! I also like to make cakes if I have the time (and the ingredients!)... or as my friends like to call them, Bundy Buns. Make sure you follow me @JulieAtSMF.

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UK Spies Snoop On Social Media In A Bid To Battle Terrorism Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, June 20, 2014 Rating: 5
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