MPs Emails’ Accessed by GCHQ

MPS EMAILS HACKED THERESA MAY

MPs voting on the Snooper’s Charter next week might be swayed to oppose Theresa May’s anti-privacy laws by the revelation that GCHQ are already accessing their emails. New documents released by Edward Snowden show GCHQ not only intercepts MPs’ communications – it also scans them in bulk using security software installed to supposedly filter spam emails. GCHQ has been able to skirt around strict rules governing the interception of internal UK communications due to parliament’s decision to switch to Microsoft Office for its email service. This means private emails sent by MPs are routed through servers in Ireland and the Netherlands, with each one being scanned and recorded by GCHQ. MPs should remember they’re governed by the laws they create…

H/T Computer Weekly

Hello @GCHQ

GCHQ says: “In joining social media GCHQ can use its own voice to talk directly about the important work we do in keeping Britain safe”. #ListeningToOurCustomers

We want GCHQ to be more accessible and to help the public understand more about our work. We also want to reach out to the technical community and add our voice to social media conversations about technology, maths, cyber security, and other topics where we have a view. We will be using Twitter to talk about our history, mission outcomes, languages, maths, cyber security, technology and innovation, job opportunities and as a way of signposting events, publications, news, blogs, and opinion pieces.

More realistically, it is becoming essential for recruitment when they are competing with higher-paying tech firms…

GCHQ Can Snoop on Politicians

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has ruled today that it’s completely fine for spooks to snoop on the communications of MPs. The ruling lays firmly to rest any pretence that the Wilson Doctrine – the principle that MPs’ and peers’ phones should not be tapped, holds any water with GCHQ. If it ever really did…

“We do not accept that the Wilson Doctrine was ever absolute. The policy or general policy of which Mr Wilson spoke was one of not tapping the telephones of Members of Parliament. It seems unlikely to us that such policy, particularly once RIPA was passed by Parliament, with its statutory justification for warrants by reference to the necessity for the interests of national security or the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime etc , was intended to rule out any tapping of such telephones or other similar direct surveillance and certainly not any incidental interception. It is difficult to see how there could be an absolute policy which would rule out interception of any communications with parliamentarians, as opposed to a policy relating to those involving confidential communications with constituents etc.”

Maybe MPs will be more interested now they know all their calls, texts and emails are being logged…

GCHQ Overfill Their Doughnut

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

There are so many new spooks flooding into GCHQ’s iconic doughnut building in Cheltenham that the intelligence agency is applying to build a new temporary block to put them in. It’s only 12 years since GCHQ moved into their shiny headquarters, yet they are applying to lump a 4,500 square meter building on their car park and to tarmac over a nearby field in order to lay down hundreds of parking spaces.

The new building will somewhat negate the raison d’être of the doughnut that was designed to facilitate talking among staff, with a circular walkway that means staff are never more than a 5 minute walk away from each other. They’ll have to start using the phone

GCHQ Failed to “Sway” Judges

judge gchq

GCHQ consider the judiciary rather than political and parliamentary oversight as the “main issue” they have to face when it comes to following the law according to a recently leaked internal slide show. In an indictment of the political class, GCHQ notes that judges are not “swayed by personal contact“.

“Senior High Court judges they are INDEPENDENT, non govt and not openly swayed by personal contact”

Worryingly, the inference is that politicians can be swayed by personal contact. What exactly do the spooks mean by “personal contact”?

GCHQ Hacking School

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

GCHQ have certified six more Masters of Cyber Security degrees, doubling the number of hacking courses offered by British Universities rubber stamped by the Cheltenham spooks. By creating competition between cyber security degrees to receive their official seal of approval, GCHQ are hoping to boost the quality of potential recruits. And have first dibs at snapping up the top graduates…

This latest round of certification comes at a time of unprecedented ‘outreach’ from GCHQ, as they tour the country visiting hacking conferences and offering university students places on their intensive cyber security summer school. Phishing for talent…

GCHQ Guilty of Unauthorised Spying – On Itself

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

GCHQ was rapped last year by the Intelligence Services Commissioner Sir Mark Waller for excessive spying on its own staff. The revelation is made today in Sir Mark’s annual report which describes the over-zealous internal monitoring at GCHQ as an “error” caused by a lack of understanding:

“In 2014, GCHQ reported one error to me which happened when an internal monitoring system of some staff communications was found to be capturing more information than it was authorised to. I followed up on this error during my May inspection and the team explained that because of a lack of understanding of the systems’ full capability more data than had been authorised had been collected.

It was clear to me that this was a technical error and not deliberate. Following the discovery of the error GCHQ deleted the captured data and reconfigured the system to ensure that it only collected the information that it was authorised to collect.”

Let’s hope the spooks don’t make any “technical errors” while they’ve hoovering up the public’s personal data…

Privacy International Launch Legal Bid Against GCHQ

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

Civil Liberty group Privacy International have today filed a legal claim against GCHQ, demanding that the government spooks stop collecting data from those who are not suspected of committing a crime. The existence of “Bulk Personal Datasets” that contain “personal information about a wide range of people” was revealed in Intelligence and Security committee report released in March.

The complaint was filed to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate GCHQ. For the first time this year, the IPT ordered the Cheltenham spooks to destroy illegally obtained documents. Let’s hope they’ve started a precedent…

British Spooks Use Super Secret WiFi Connection In Bavaria

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

The security service are on tour at the G7 with the the PM and if seems they may not a made too much of an effort to hide their WiFi connection.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

GCHQ Given Licence To Hack

gchq hack

The government has snuck through legislation that exempts the police and security services from prosecution for hacking people’s computers. The legislation was passed into law as an amendment to the Computer Misuse act, bypassing parliamentary debate. Coincidentally, the new legislation was revealed just hours before a hearing into a claim lodged by Privacy International that GCHQ’s hacking activities were unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act…

Not only was parliament not consulted, it appears that none of the relevant regulators such as the Information Commissioner’s Office were included in the decision that gives GCHQ and others carte blanche to launch cyber attacks in the UK.[…]

+ READ MORE +

GAY-CHQ

The modern Alan Turings at GCHQ are marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia with a rainbow…[…]

+ READ MORE +

GCHQ Ordered to Destroy Ilegally Obtained Docs

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has for the first time ordered GCHQ to destroy illegally obtained documents. In today’s judgement and determination in a case brought by Amnesty International and other claimants, the IPT found that GCHQ had illegally obtained two documents that were subject to legal professional privilege and humiliatingly, ordered the Cheltenham spooks to destroy them.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Telegraph Three Years Late To Spook Scoop

GCHQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The Telegraph ran what appeared to be something of an exclusive this week, reporting that GCHQ are telling business to consider stripping smart phones from staff in order to avoid cyber attacks. Ben Riley-Smith bragged about documents “seen by The Telegraph” that warn firms that their employees are the weakest link in the security chain.[…]

+ READ MORE +

GCHQ Builds Identity Database of ‘Personal Information’

bulk personal datasets

GCHQ have invented a new doublespeak to justify their use of Mass Surveillance – they now collate “Bulk Personal Datasets.” These datasets contain “personal information about a wide range of people”. Sounds suspiciously like an identity database.

In the spirit of transparency and openness, the revelation about the Bulk Personal Datasets in today’s Privacy and Security report from the Intelligence and Security committee helpfully listed the types of information held in the datasets.[…]

+ READ MORE +

GCHQ Have Broken Encryption, Maybe

gchq break encryption

GCHQ claim to have developed a programme that enables “them to read encrypted communications”. The revelation is made in today’s extensive Privacy and Security report from the Intelligence and Security Committee. It’s also extensively redacted, or as they might say… encrypted. […]

+ READ MORE +

GCHQ Scares School Children with ‘OctaPi’

Octopic Front

GCHQ are attempting to inspire schoolchildren by showing off an internal build project know as the ‘Bramble OctaPi.” Made from 66 of the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers, the Bramble Ocatpi is to be unleashed on youngsters as part of the intelligence agency’s PR drive to cultivate a more cuddly image.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Heather Wheeler talks to Burton Mail about her tweet…

“It was a tongue in cheek pop after the European Parliament tweet – it was purely that. I also wanted to congratulate Team GB on a brilliant result and thirdly congratulate the Commonwealth countries who also did very well. Fourth, I am also looking forwarded to establishing new trade agreements. That was it – nothing more. Let’s just enjoy the summer!”

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