Some new details about UK government thinking regarding mass surveillance of domestic Internet users have emerged today, in a witness statement made by Charles Blandford Farr, Director General of the UK Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism.
The statement was made in response to a legal challenge made by a group of privacy rights organisations, including Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union. That challenge was made in the wake of revelations about the US Prism program, revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the UK’s own Tempora data collection program.
In the witness statement, Farr reveals that UK spy agencies could legally justify the mass harvesting of UK Internet users’ Facebook missives, tweets, YouTube and Google searches because those type of communications can be defined as ‘external comms’ if the servers of the hosted content are located outside the UK.
External comms do not require a warrant to be intercepted under the UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act…
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