THE UK GOVERNMENT allegedly is involved in the US government snooping programme codenamed PRISM, which has seen the US National Security Agency (NSA) collecting data from nine major internet firms.
That's according to The Guardian. The newspaper claims to have received new information revealing that the GCHQ, the main UK security agency, has also been collecting data from firms like Apple, Google and Microsoft under the PRISM programme. If the leaked PRISM slides are true, this data includes emails, conversations, images and videos.
According to the report, the GCHQ has had access to the system since at least June 2010, as apparently it generated 197 intelligence reports from the data last year alone.
In a statement sent to The Guardian, the GCHQ tried to deny rumours that it's involved in the scheme, claiming that it doesn't use backdoor tactics to get hold of information.
A spokesperson said GCHQ "takes its obligations under the law very seriously". The spokesperson continued, "Our work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the intelligence and security committee".
The leaked slides outing PRISM, which were unveiled on Thursday, seem to suggest that firms like Microsoft, Google and Apple have been willfully handing over access to their internal servers, but all of the firms involved have been quick to deny that was going on.
Google, for example, said in a statement, "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully."
We'll update this story as we hear more. µ