British Intelligence Spied On G20 Officials' Phone Calls And Emails During 2009 Summit

from the of-course-they-did dept

Late Sunday, the Guardian revealed that during the G20 summit in London in 2009, the UK government made sure to intercept phone calls and internet communications of foreign politicians and officials who were attending. As the article notes, many have suspected this kind of activity, but this is the first time that evidence has been presented of it happening and that it was organized by GCHQ (the UK equivalent of the NSA). And, of course, this had nothing to do with “stopping terrorism” but was about “the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings.” The listed activities:

  • Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;
  • Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;
  • Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;
  • Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;
  • Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

Of course, this seems like traditional espionage that has gone on for ages, which by itself is less troubling to me. What’s more revealing is some of the methods — such as the ability to get around the security on the BlackBerry. As for the “internet cafe” — who in their right mind would use such a thing, knowing that it was almost certainly being monitored?

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Comments on “British Intelligence Spied On G20 Officials' Phone Calls And Emails During 2009 Summit”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

They broke rule #1:

‘When spying, don’t get caught, and if you do, make sure you have a believable sacrifice to throw under the bus.’

That said, will be interested to see if someone loses their job over this ‘unfortunate lapse of judgement’, or if the blame will just be shuffled back and forth until people forget about it.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Bradley Manning

Given your poor use of commas and grammar, I hope you mean:

“I hear there was a guy working for the US military, which spied on a large number of diplomats and military personnel, who then provided those documents to the general public !!!!!!

WTF: they really should shoot people who run organisations like that.”

An additional -10 points for the excessive scaremongering via six (6) exclamation points.

Masnick = Coward says:

That article was great when I read it elsewhere. Get those clicks!

I’m here, ready to discuss your theories as to why this surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment. Why won’t you discuss it on the merits? Why do you feel the need to block IP addresses rather than have a substantive discussion about something that actually matters?

I’m not going anywhere, Mike. The only way to get rid of me is to deal with me. The only way to make me lose interest is to have an open and honest discussion with me. Blocking my IP only makes me post MORE. You should know that. As long as I’m blocked, I’ll assume you want me to post an order of magnitude more than I used to. Your choice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

LOL! Post that link all day long. I LOVE it. It’s Pirate Mike proving yet again that he has all the time in the world to make excuses, but no time to answer even the most basic question about his beliefs.

Why won’t Mikey tell us if he thinks copyright infringement is immoral or not? Why won’t he discuss whether Aaron Swartz broke the law? The list goes on and on. Mike is too scared to discuss anything that actually matters.

He runs every fucking time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The tears will be yours, my friend. Think I’ve been a pain in the past? I wasn’t even warmed up yet. I’m here now every day, all day, every post, over and over again reminding everyone who reads TD that Mike is too scared to ever discuss anything that he posts.

I fucking own Techdirt now, friend.

Mike = Scaredy Cat says:

Re: Re: Re:

And yet people know that Mike is too scared to answer even the most basic question. Why won’t Mike discuss whether he thinks infringement is immoral?

Hmm… It’s not hard to figure out. He’s a total fucking fake and he knows it. I shit all over him and he just takes it because he’s too scared to actually confront me.

I fucking own this place. Mike is so fucking scared of me he doesn’t know what to do. All he has to do is have an honest discussion with me. It will never happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You said it yourself.

” All he has to do is have an honest discussion with me. It will never happen.”

You keep moving the goalposts in every discussion, every answer you get you suddenly pull up the stakes and start pretending that he hasn’t answered your question, thus moving the goalposts.
Then you have the cognitive dissonance of thinking this makes you the winner of the argument. While we laugh.

Masnick = FUDGE PACKER says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ll discuss the stories here that Mike pumps out day after day on the merits. Why won’t Mike do the same. Hmm…. It’s not hard to figure out. Mike just copies what other people say, and then when he finds a topic that gets the clicks, he runs with it likes there’s no tomorrow.

Mike only cares about getting clicks and getting paid. I care about the facts and getting things right. That’s why Mike is too fucking scared of me that he has to block my IP.

You block me, I post more than ever, Mikey. Your choice.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Grade school debating, much?

I’m pretty sure Mike has posted his reasons aplenty.

I also wasn’t aware this was a ‘debate’ site, let alone one where only your ‘debates’ (I think that’s how you spell ‘whinging’) count, or that Mike was under any obligation to debate anyone, let alone yourself.

Complaining that an opinion site is ‘looking for page clicks’ is like complaining that EMI are putting out songs. Why not go and whine somewhere useful and get Paris Hilton/Snooki/whoever-is-the-latest-brainless-to-fill-the-airwaves to stop doing so. And maybe they can teach you some maturity at the same time.

Did someone ‘block’ your IP? Must have been used by a spambot…

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

1) Most articles on Techdirt are sourced from other places. That is how Techdirt works.

2) The UK isn’t bound by the US Constitution, nor its Amendments, you idiot.

3) Also, if your IP address is blocked, how do you post? Users reporting your spam for what it is isn’t IP blocking. & your comments aren’t removed, they’re just collapsed so intelligent readers don’t have to worry about their IQ dropping. If they want to read your rant, they’re free to click the indicator & reveal you have no clue what you are talking about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Why do you feel the need to block IP addresses rather than have a substantive discussion about something that actually matters?

Seriously? Masnick blocked your IP address? Wow. Just when I thought he was merely a douchenozzle, he reveals himself to be a giant hypocritical douchenozzle. This is truly hysterical.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The only way to get rid of me is to deal with me.”

Wow, you’re right… there’s no way he can ignore you indefinitely, by himself. He’d have to, I don’t know… crowdsource some way to ignore you. Maybe a button, of some sort. Like, a way to flag your posts as useless drivel, so that people who aren’t entertained by them can just skip them, without any actual effort from the site admins. Why hasn’t that happened yet, we’ll never know.

“The only way to make me lose interest is to have an open and honest discussion with me.”

Well, this says anything. Open and honest discussion make angry_schmucko lose interest. From the horse’s mouth (with no name). No wonder why it’s close to impossible.

out_of_the_blue says:

Big deal: I'm so important that Google spies on me EVERY DAY!

Try though I do to escape its notice. Mike’s new-found mania for re-writing every story out there on this topic is a test of his ability to NOT mentioin Google, and of mine to jam it in.

“…get around the security on the BlackBerry.” — You may recall that RIM claimed that couldn’t be done. Corporations lie continually.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Big deal: I'm so important that Google spies on me EVERY DAY!

If it’s been said once it’s been said a hundred times: if you don’t want to be tracked by Google, don’t use their products/services.

The fact that you claim that you are still ‘being spied on’ by them suggests either that you have fallen for the ‘Google is everything‘ lie that the *AA’s and several governments have been pushing, or that despite claiming to hate their ‘spying’ on you, you continue to use their products, like a masochist that just cannot get enough suffering and/or needs something to complain about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Big deal: I'm so important that Google spies on me EVERY DAY!

If i’m not mistaken i seem to recall an article about RIM beeing forced to hand over backdoors into their system to be able to sell blackberries in the UAE, so i suppose that technically they might be right, the security might have been bypassed – not broken.

Anonymous Coward says:

Economic spying on friendly nations

Of course this is nothing new, but, should it turn out the NSA has a similar economically-based justification, it might through some light on various trade agreement negotiations.

It also might provide political cover for a nation that has (theoretically) realized they’re getting screwed over on free trade or international IP agreements to, uh, revisit their commitments to such agreements.

Add one more (imaginary) revelation, and the international relations could get pretty complex pretty fast.

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