Who’s looking at you through the PRISM?

Britain’s GCHQ spy centre is caught in the headlamps as US networks reveal Obama’s secret agents have been snooping on our email and Facebook accounts.

Campaigners fear that even withput a new 'snoopers' charter' our privacy is at risk

Campaigners fear that police surveillance puts our privacy  at risk – picture by 38 degrees

Revelations about the PRISM system of surveillance operated by the National Security Agency surfaced in the USA and President Barack Obama believes the balance is right between privacy and security “You can’t have a hundred per cent security and also a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

No denial from GCHQ

In the UK ministers are under pressure to comment on whether GCHQ worked with the NSA to mine personal data from social media and emails.  The official response from GCHQ, the Cheltenham-based monitoring centre, is that is always works within its guidelines. Future Intelligence editor Peter Warren comments “This is not a denial. It falls short of a denial”. FI has published full background on the political, security and human rights issues raised by the controversy as well as full explanation of the technologies involved.

Read the full background here:

Voipfone entrepreneur Colin Duffy told FI: ” There is a massive risk involved in the holding of all users’ data. And there is no evidence that it could prevent an individual atrocity. As we know from recent events, even when we know someone has terrorist tendencies ..they have not been stopped.” Duffy fears that any new legislation requiring internet service providers to store users’ data for longer than twelve months would become unwieldy and uneconomic.

A new law – the Communications and Data Bill – was shelved because of opposition from the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in the Government Coalition. Campaigners against the Bill have signed an e-petition with more than 190,000 signatures. They gather the signatures through social media and the 38 Degrees website. Thirty-eight degrees is the angle at which a heap of snow has to tilt before it starts an avalanche. The campaign group issued a statement in April 2013 claiming victory because the planned new law had been sidelined.

New agenda

However the murder of a soldier in Woolwich by suspected Islamic terrorists and now the PRISM revelations have put the Communications and Data Bill back on the agenda.

The petition text:

Dear David Cameron,

Respect our privacy. Stop the internet and phone snooping plan.