UK Government: Yes, we're spying on your Facebook conversations

Tempora's activities are all A-ok, says UK Gov

Mass surveillance of Facebook, Twitter and Google searches is completely justifiable, according to the UK government.

Director general of Security and Counter Terrorism, Charles Farr, put out a 48-page statement as response to a challenge from several civil liberties groups, confirming that GCHQ intercepts a lot of our online activity without a warrant.

In the UK, a warrant is required to monitor "internal" communications, but "external" communications - a definition that apparently stretches to Facebook, Twitter, Google searches and other services that require some data to be sent to servers overseas - can be monitored at random.

That means Facebook messages and some emails can be intercepted even if there's no suspicion of wrongdoing.

All your data are belong to us

Farr said: "The only practical way in which the government can ensure that it is able to obtain at least a fraction of the type of communication in which it is interested is to provide for the interception of a large volume of communication."

The mass interception programme is known at Tempora, and this is the first time the Government has openly commented on how it operates.

The last we heard came from whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked out details about the NSA and the UK's previously-unknown mass surveillance policies last year.

  • Looking for some added security? Maybe you should get yourself a Blackphone

Via Privacy International

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.