• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Government defends its Facebook snooping

FACEBOOK status updates and Twitter posts are being intercepted by the UK Government because they are regarded as external communications from countries based overseas, it has been revealed.

A legal battle with campaign group Privacy International over the level of surveillance by intelligence agencies has led to the disclosure of the legal loophole by Charles Farr, the director general of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism.

The continuing legal battle was brought by a collection of civil liberties groups as a result of the Edward Snowden revelations last year.

The former National Security Agency (NSA) employee revealed extensive snooping was being carried out by the US-based NSA and GCHQ.

The Government's interpretation means intercepting data can be carried out without a warrant under British law, which identifies an "external communication" as "those communications which are both sent and received outside the British Islands, whether or not they pass through the British Islands in the course of their transit."

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: "Intelligence agencies cannot be considered accountable to Parliament and to the public they serve when their actions are obfuscated through secret interpretations of byzantine laws."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.