British nationals' web activity snooped on by government, even outside of UK

GCHQ headquarters in Gloucestershire, England

The British government still maintains its right to warrantlessly intercept communications, at least according to government documents which were recently obtained by a lawsuit from advocacy group Privacy International.

The documents, which are apparently part of a larger report to be released by Privacy International on Tuesday, assert that the British government has the power and right to intercept the web traffic of British nationals no matter where on the web the communications take place -- whether they be on a site hosted in the United States, like Facebook, or elsewhere in the world.

More importantly, the British government maintains their right to intercept web traffic without a warrant or reasonable cause. According to the documents, such web traffic occurring on sites like Facebook or Twitter, which are hosted outside of the UK, is classified as "external communication." Under British law, all external communication is able to be intercepted even if no wrongdoing is suspected. Internal communication, on the other hand, occurs between two people based in the UK, and can only be intercepted with a government-issued warrant justifying reasonable suspicion.

The approach taken by the British government is slightly different than that of the United States, who became embroiled in a legal battle with Microsoft over their request for the company to release user data stored in a server overseas. Still, British law does not superscede international law, and so the probable snooping of user communications by the British government may land the nation in hot water with other countries, and even companies like Facebook and Twitter, who surely have some significant objections to a major government intercepting traffic on their platform.

Source: New York TimesImage via Wikipedia

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows Phone still trails BlackBerry for consumer use in the UK

Next Story

YouView may have to rebrand after losing High Court trademark battle

15 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

hagjohn said,
How many of you from the UK said, during the US spying "scandal", that your gov't didn't spy?
only those not paying attention, snowden showed the five eyes. Us canada uk nz aus spy and trade info. Also tempora. Did u pay attention?

SO basically, if I say tweet someone in the UK and that person tweets me while I'm in the UK does that mean they need a warrant to intercept that communication?

illage3 said,
SO basically, if I say tweet someone in the UK and that person tweets me while I'm in the UK does that mean they need a warrant to intercept that communication?
read the article. Twitter is a US service therefore uk spies on ALL twitter comms

People say 'oh if you encrypt they will surely keep your data', yes they do but they can't read it, they keep your data too but read that.

I've significantly changed my habits online and off just to maintain more privacy.

what surprises me is that people actually thought that its only the NSA in the USA that did this as they were caught via Snowdons whistle blowing.

They are all at it, wake up!

Who leaked this information? Was it Sir Edward Snowden? Also, if that's the GCHQ building, they should sue Apple.

"Still, British law does not superscede international law, and so the probable snooping of user communications by the British government may land the nation in hot water with other countries, and even companies like Facebook and Twitter, who surely have some significant objections to a major government intercepting traffic on their platform."
I'm sure the UK government really cares. No honest, they'll change their laws and everything, immediately disband GCHQ, etc......