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British spies are allowed to intercept Google and Facebook traffic, official says

Loek Essers | June 18, 2014
British spies are authorized to spy on British citizens' Internet communications transiting through servers outside the U.K., a civil rights group has discovered.

If this is the case, the message would still qualify as an internal one. However, it could still be intercepted since there is no way of filtering out the internal conversations from the external ones beforehand, Farr said. Such a selection would have to happen after the emails are intercepted.

Privacy International said the government is conducting mass surveillance by intercepting and scanning through communications in order to work out whether they are internal or external.

"Classifying communications as 'external' allows the Government to search through, read, listen to and look at each of them," the campaign group said. "They consider that such interception 'has less importance' than whether a person actually reads the communication, which is where the Government believes 'the substantive interference with privacy arises,'" the group said, adding that even when privacy violations happen, the government doesn't see it as an "active intrusion" because the analyst reading or listening to an individual's communication will inevitably forget about it anyway.

The group and its fellow plaintiffs called for an end to this "wholesale violation" of Britons' right to privacy.

 

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