The UK’s spy agency has finally been caught for not keeping a proper paper trail of when they collect data. As we’ve seen numerous times over the years governments have been slowly increasing their control of the internet more and more under false pretenses to “protect” the people all under supposed proper checks and balances. However, we all knew that it was only a matter of time before governments started collecting data without holding themselves accountable. Not only that, but it seems that ISPs in the UK are compliant with the invasive data collecting being carried about by the government. That time has come for big brother in the UK!
Privacy International–a campaign group, cross-examined the UK’s spy agency–or the GCHQ, and found that a witness made a series of errors that contradicted himself in the past. The Witness is called Witness X to remain anonymous, but Witness X known as the GCHQ deputy director of the Cheltenham based agency, submitted multiple statements on behalf of GCHQ. In these statements it was found that the GCHQ was not keeping proper records of instances in which the GCHQ invasively collected communications data.
Witness X revealed that the GCHQ sometimes has no record of a trigger letter being sent to request data, and he explained the reason is that they have to collect information without giving notice to ISPs that don’t have access to classified materials. This means that in specific instances of data collection, ISPs were not notified of data collection or that they didn’t mind giving it up without having legal paper trails or means.
Graham-Wood, part of Privacy International explains that “the lack of a paper trail documenting what companies were asked to provide and reliance upon oral agreements strikes more of an old-school gentleman’s agreement, despite it concerning highly sensitive personal data. This is clearly unacceptable.” Wood clearly thinks that ISPs and the GCHQ have some sort of agreement where the spy agency can get any information it wants, and the ISPs will just keep quiet, and that very well indeed could be what is happening.
The UK and other nation states in the world will keep collecting data about us, and you can see only privacy groups seem to be effective in calling them out. But even these groups have a hard time holding spy agencies accountable, and it’s questionable to how much effect they can have. At the end of the day, the only 100% surefire way to guarantee freedom and security on the internet is through our own means of using tools like VPNs that encrypt all web traffic.