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?