press trust of india
LONDON, 8 JUNE: The British government is under increasing pressure to order an inquiry into claims that the country’s security services were covertly gathering a mass of personal data from some of the world’s largest Internet firms through a US spy programme.
Britain’s eavesdropping centre ~ Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) ~ will report to the parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee Committee (ISC) by Monday over claims it secretly gathered Intelligence.
British Indian MP Keith Vaz described the allegations regarding the government’s Cheltenham-based electronic listening post as “chilling”. “The most chilling aspect is that ordinary American citizens and potentially British citizens too were apparently unaware that their phone and online interactions could be watched. I am astonished by these revelations, which could involve the data of thousands of Britons. This seems be the snoopers charter by the back door,” said the Labour MP and chairman of the House of Commons’ influential Home Affairs Select Committee.
ISC chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind added that the parliamentary committee would be “receiving a full report from GCHQ very shortly and will decide what further action needs to be taken as soon as it receives that information”.
According to the report in the Guardian newspaper, the GCHQ may have directly requested material from the US National Security Agency’s Prism programme, which can search huge stores of Internet data for information on individuals.
Prism was created by US Intelligence to gather information on non-US citizens living outside the country.
British Prime Minister is now facing calls to order an investigation and MPs are demanding that either foreign secretary William Hague, who oversees the work of GCHQ, or the home secretary, Theresa May, appear in the Commons on Monday to explain how much ministers knew about the operation and how many British citizens could be affected. The US-run Prism would appear to have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material such as e-mails, photos and videos from an Internet company based outside the UK.
‘Secret programme helped foil NYC plot’
WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI, 8 JUNE: A senior US Intelligence official says that the secret programme that tracked hundreds of millions of domestic phone records helped disrupt a 2009 terror plot to bomb New York City subways. The official says the plot was thwarted because of the secret collection of phone records by the National Security Agency. The official would not provide other details. The official was not authorised to discuss the plot publicly and requested anonymity. Meanwhile, Internet firms Google and Facebook have categorically denied their participation in government secretly tracking information on foreigners. Both the US-based technology giants said that their organisations were not aware about the existence of such a programme ~ code-named PRISM ~ until it hit national and international headlines. agencies