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Google and Facebook Can Be Legally Intercepted, Says UK Spy Boss 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
mpicpp sends this news from the BBC: The U.K. government has revealed that intelligence service GCHQ can snoop on British citizens' use of Facebook, Twitter and Google without a warrant because the firms are based overseas. U.K. spy boss Charles Farr said that such platforms are classified as external communications. The policy was revealed as part of an ongoing legal battle with campaign group Privacy International (PI). PI said the interpretation of the law "patronizes the British people." According to Mr Farr, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and web searches on Google, as well as webmail services such as Hotmail and Yahoo are classified as "external communications," which means that they can be intercepted without the need for additional legal clearance."
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Google and Facebook Can Be Legally Intercepted, Says UK Spy Boss

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  • um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Type44Q (1233630) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @10:24PM (#47259917)
    Fascist toadie says what? :p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @10:25PM (#47259919)

    Funny that Facebook et al are internal when EU courts want to issue subpoenas or legal rulings, yet are external when the spy agencies want to snoop on them.
    Captcha: Gambit

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @11:43PM (#47260211)

    I worry about the blowback on this. Not just the hardened diaper snipers (the hardcore CP guys who will not turn on each other because no prosecutor will ever cut them a deal, ever) will still be tough to prosecute, but now everyone and their brother will go that route and be equally as hard to catch, be it true crimes like CP and explotation of children or other offenses (extortion, blackmail, etc). TrueCrypt may no longer be developed, but it is going to be the de facto encryption standard for a long time.

    In fact, there is interest in PGP and GPG again, utilities thought too cumbersome in daily life.

    The result is going to be active security on endpoints, and maybe even a wholesale move to encryption providers that don't like the US or the UK. China and Russia will be happy to protect someone, provided their guys have their own backdoors. Yes, endpoints are spy-able, but if people on a whole start having an offline computer just for signing and encrypting, it means every endpoint needs a physical black-bag attack mounted against it to be effective.

  • Legal... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @12:50AM (#47260427)
    "Legal" means whatever you want it to mean when you're the one who gets to determine what it means.
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @01:46AM (#47260607) Journal

    If the contracts are signed in Ireland, and both parties agree that the terms of the contract are to be governed by the laws of Ireland, then they are made in Ireland.

    They are not signed in Ireland they are signed in the UK where both parties live and work. You should not be allowed to just arbitrarily decide which countries laws apply when everything is taking place in the UK unless you are going to give individuals the same power and I can go shopping for the country with the lowest income tax rate too. The problem is that large, international companies can afford enough lawyers that they twist laws into knots to get out of paying their share of society's infrastructure costs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:08AM (#47261141)

    They are following their own laws: that is quite literally the problem. Despite the best efforts of the US government, and apparently to the surprise of some of its citizens, the US constitution does dot apply to other countries like the UK.

    I think you missed his point. GCHQ are saying that as Twitter is a US service its users communications are treated as external. Effectively, even though I am a UK citizen located in the UK my actions on twitter are treated as being external because the service is in America. It's the same logic that means that if I hack a server in the US I can be prosecuted by the US even though I was physically in the UK. This does beg the question however as to why if I post something that the UK government would consider libel/harassment on twitter they treat it as being a UK crime even though by their own argument it took place in America where they neither have jurisdiction nor would it be illegal under American law.

    Aside from "because it suits them" there's no way the government can argue that twitter use is both within their jurisdiction and also that using twitter is 'external'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:50AM (#47261257)

    The problem here is one of The FSA vs OathBreakers. Those in the F_ree S_hit A_rmy want youtube channels and free email and that crappy webpage on facecrook. The OathBreakers don't give a f**k about the rule of law. My personal oppinion is that if you publish to a website you don't actually OWN, then you

    A. have to trust said company, not so incompetent to expose your database tables accidentally, or maliciously, or secretly.
    B. anything actually published is now in the public "somewhere" if not archive.org, *.cache.com ; If the Oath breakers want to collect that "published data" without a warrant who cares.
    C. The FSA wouldn't be here if they paid for their own websites. WHY DO YOU HAVE ACCOUNTS ON THESE WEBSITES STILL? WHY?!

    anyway, you know how the latest in that Stingray ( http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/06/judge-allows-us-marshals-seizure-of-stingray-records-dimisses-lawsuit/ ) ordeal with the ACLU getting end-run by the US Marshalls well now then

    A. Whoever has the data can manipulate/ cleanse it / further deny it - fsck all burn in hell you backstabbing piece of dung fsck OathBreakers )
    B. WHY do you PAY for a god dammned phone still?! WHY?! Go buy a HAM RADIO for god sakes, learn electronics, pay for something that is going to last your lifetime and can be either sold at Estate Sale or Passed down to your children when you die. All you young ass idiots, do you know back in the 60's we didn't have no fucking mobile phones, you had to find a PAY PHONE BOOTH. You had to coordinate when people would be around--to even answer the phone sometimes. Phone Tag. You all don't seem to grasp that. You are allowing "a Luxury" , a Convienence, a NON necessity to steal your fscking data!!
    C. This stops overnight when nobody will buy their god damn phones or deal with these fscking communications companies gone fascist. IF nobody has a fscking AT&T account, AT&T doesn't get paid, enough time and eventually NO MORE AT&T at all. Unless AT&T want to spend their own money to stay lit -- make no mistake they have a LOT of money.

      Somewhere down the line, Government has tossed the rule of law out, this is the neucleous for all this grief. Banksters are propped up by NSA spying, and nothing is sacred anymore with this fscking Extra Constitutional HORSESHIT.

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