UK government says they can snoop on the British when they use Google, Facebook, and other web-based email without issuing a warrant simply because these firms are based abroad.
GCHQ, the UK intelligence service headquarters can conduct what is called “external communications”. These can be done without warrant or can be intercepted even without clearance. This is according to the spy boss himself Charles Farr.
This is a policy revealed in lieu of a legal battle with Privacy International.
Policy International has called the policy “patronizing”.
This is the very first time that UK has made a comment on its legal framework ever since whistle blower Edward Snowden, who has fled the US and is now residing in Russia, revealed the mass interception of communications by the global government surveillance.
Exactly how “external communications” bypass basic law is when a person conducts searches or sends information using Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Hotmail and Yahoo, they are doing so overseas and this does not need a warrant signed by the minister.
He said though, that all the details collected in this manner cannot be in any way read, looked at, or even listened to, unless of course in strictly limited circumstances.
The British intelligence has always regarded their acts as lawful. Mr. Farr has not revealed the extent of GCHQ’s power on the external communications. He justified In a 48-page statement that the work is “authorized, necessary, and proportionate,” and that it is carried out with strict policy framework.
However, some have argued that the laws surrounding interception are hard to understand. People are already confused on how the government applies to different communication forms.
Civil liberty groups found this outrageous.
James Welch, Liberty’s legal director, said that this is enough reason that their nation’s snooping laws need an overhaul.