UK secretly tapping fibre-optic cables for data

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by Yusuf, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    LONDON: UK's spy agencies gained secret access to fibre-optic cables carrying global communications and gathered data larger than the US, a media report said on Saturday, quoting documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.


    The Guardian newspaper said the revelations were based on leaked documents from the GCHQ - the UK's electronic eavesdropping agency.

    The information, including phone calls, Facebook posts, emails, Internet histories, was stored for up to 30 days to be sifted and analysed, the paper alleged.

    The GCHQ has started processing vast amounts of personal information and is sharing it with its US partner the National Security Agency (NSA), it said.

    GCHQ declined to comment on the claims but said its compliance with the law was "scrupulous".

    The documents were reportedly released by whistleblower Snowden, a former IT contractor at GCHQ's US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA), who is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong following a series of shocking disclosures about US intelligence operations.

    It is reported that US authorities have charged 30-year-old Snowden with espionage and theft.

    "It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," Snowden told the Guardian.

    "They [GCHQ] are worse than the US." According to the Guardian, the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) operation codenamed Tempora has been running for 18 months and was able to boast a larger collection of data than the US, tapping into 200 fibre-optic cables to give it the ability to monitor up to 600 million communications every day.

    The two main components of GCHQ's surveillance programme are called "Mastering the Internet" and "Global Telecoms Exploitation", the newspaper said, adding that the operations were all being carried out "without any form of public acknowledgement or debate".

    Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group, Liberty, said she was shocked by the report and accused GCHQ of allowing itself a "very generous interpretation of the law".

    "They are exploiting the fact that the Internet is so international in nature.

    "And I'm pretty sad in a democracy when all that appears to be holding back the secret state is its physical and technological capability and not its ethics or a tight interpretation and application of the law," she told BBC Radio.
    http://m.timesofindia.com/world/uk/...port/articleshow/20717125.cms?intenttarget=no
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    With all the tapping going on,reminded of trucks.Its always written "Buri Nazar Wale Tera Muh Kala". All mail signatures should have it :D
     
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  4. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Just curious, any idea along which length (inside the UK, near the UK etc) the fiber-optic cables were tapped ?

    The GCHQ and the NSA (or its predecessor organisations) have been working together since the late 30s.
    Also, during the 70s the USA used to regularly tap into Soviet underwater military communication lines in the Sea of Okhotsk and elsewhere, under the guidance of the NSA. The operation was called Operation Ivy Bells.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  5. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    All the eavesdropping in the world could not save UK's a*s in Basra or Af-stan. Neither could it save their soldiers from being culled in their own streets by jihadis. Time to set the priorities right. Off-topic but, rather than arming Syrian rebels & propping up Frankenstein in millions who would devour UK (& US) itself, eventually, they should be cleaning the mess that their own country has become.
     
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  7. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  8. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Razor: If & when you have read the above two papers, could you please share your takeaways ? :namaste:
     
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  9. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Well, I just glanced through the first paper and it talks about the fiber optic systems, tapping and counter-measures. The second presentation is from Opterna.
    In a gist it says that present day fiber optic cables can 1. easily, 2. at little cost and 3. surreptitiously be tapped and also that this is being done by Law and military agencies.
    Basically fiber optics can be tapped and it can not be easily prevented. Tapping can be done without actually having to splice cables and sometimes even without touching the cables.
    The best we can do is to immediately: 1. Detect the intrusion and 2. Cut off that section and reroute traffic via back up sections quickly.
    Also a strong encryption system is a must, obviously. But since the NSA and the GCHQ can probably crack all civilian encryption systems and most military (except the high level) encryption, so civilians should stop complaining and just live with it. :D

    With regards to encryption, from the first paper above:

    No copyright violation intended, please, it's from the above paper.
     
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