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United Kingdom Government Privacy United States

British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged To Play In NSA's Data Pools 43

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "Britain's electronic surveillance agency, Government Communications Headquarters, has long presented its collaboration with the National Security Agency's massive electronic spying efforts as proportionate, carefully monitored, and well within the bounds of privacy laws. But according to a top-secret document in the archive of material provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, GCHQ secretly coveted the NSA's vast troves of private communications and sought 'unsupervised access' to its data as recently as last year – essentially begging to feast at the NSA's table while insisting that it only nibbles on the occasional crumb."
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British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged To Play In NSA's Data Pools

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  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:46AM (#46887121) Homepage Journal

    The "Great" in Great Britain never meant great as in supa-dupa.

    It derives from the French "Grande" as in "big", referring to the Island of Britain as the larger part or Brittany, with the smaller part being Brittany in the North of France. This goes back to the Norman conquests, where the French though they owned it, but once they got there, the locals quickly absorbed them into the borg and they decided they were British after all.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:49AM (#46887143) Journal
    It really depends on how you see the role of the GCHQ vs the NSA.
    The NSA had the computers and total control over sealed parts of shared US/UK bases. The GCHQ had the global locations and very ,very skilled staff but no real way into NSA global efforts even within the UK.
    The Falklands, UK role in former Yugoslavia showed an even more clear lack of good UK crypto use or true UK global reach.
    At any point in time the NSA could shut out or totally turn off the GCHQ product stream depending on US policy or political mood.
    The UK likes to talk of its special relationship and joint facilities but knows a lot of other nations are now on the special US helper list (for NSA locations, "shared" sites) and other nations expect nothing back from the NSA unlike the UK.
    The UK will always recall Diego Garcia in the 1970's and UK only efforts in Cyprus (and many other UK only regions) as been sticking points with the USA.
    The result is a lack of sharing in both directions been used as a tool. NSA/GCHQ sites, Polaris, Super Antelope and Diego Garcia all showed the very real limits to US/UK relations in the past.
    Now the UK is left with the result of the past budgets cuts from the 1960-80's and is totally dependant on the USA and NSA in many key ways. The US can offer all to the UK, some or none. The UK has its own sites for Ireland, and the Middle East but lacks its own NSA like total global reach.
    The upper levels of the UK gov have also gotten a taste for the NSA product over decades. What this new news shows is a new hint at the decades old dance between the NSA, US gov and a UK addiction to total information awareness with limited funds.
    So for years you had the useful sock puppets talking of the Anglosphere and that "special relationship" forged in past wars been about total trust and sharing.
    Reality is much more complex per US political decade, UK budget related cuts and is very much controlled by the USA.
    The UK faces losing a world wide database of realtime calls, voice prints, faxes, emails, networking and banking intel via the US and having to fall back on UK only efforts.
    With only UK sites for Ireland, the Middle East and help from New Zealand, Australia, Canada it would be "dramatic" form the UK perspective after enjoying the global NSA efforts and long term storage.

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