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  #1    
Old June 16th, 2013 (10:00 PM).
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LONDON -- The Guardian newspaper says the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ repeatedly hacked into foreign diplomats' phones and emails when the U.K. hosted international conferences, even going so far as to set up a bugged Internet café in an effort to get an edge in high-stakes negotiations.

The report – the latest in a series of revelations which have ignited a worldwide debate over the scope of Western intelligence gathering – came just hours before Britain was due to open the G-8 summit Monday, a meeting of the seven biggest economies plus Russia, in Northern Ireland. The allegation that the United Kingdom has previously used its position as host to spy on its allies and other attendees could make for awkward conversation as the delegates arrive for talks.

"The diplomatic fallout from this could be considerable," said British academic Richard J. Aldrich, whose book "GCHQ" charts the agency's history.

GCHQ declined to comment on the report.

The Guardian cites more than half a dozen internal government documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the basis for its reporting on GCHQ's intelligence operations, which it says involved, among other things, hacking into the South African foreign ministry's computer network and targeting the Turkish delegation at the 2009 G-20 summit in London.

The source material – whose authenticity could not immediately be determined – appears to be a mixed bag. The Guardian describes one as "a PowerPoint slide," another as "a briefing paper" and others simply as "documents."

Some of the leaked material was posted to the Guardian's website with heavy redactions. A spokesman for the newspaper said that the redactions were made at the newspaper's initiative, but declined to elaborate.

It wasn't completely clear how Snowden would have had access to the British intelligence documents, although in one article the Guardian mentions that source material was drawn from a top-secret internal network shared by GCHQ and the NSA. Aldrich said he wouldn't be surprised if the GCHQ material came from a shared network accessed by Snowden, explaining that the NSA and GCHQ collaborated so closely that in some areas the two agencies effectively operated as one.

One document cited by the Guardian – but not posted to its website – appeared to boast of GCHQ's tapping into smartphones. The Guardian quoted the document as saying that "capabilities against BlackBerry provided advance copies of G20 briefings to ministers." It went on to say that "Diplomatic targets from all nations have an MO (a habit) of using smartphones," adding that spies "exploited this use at the G-20 meetings last year."

Another document cited – but also not posted – concerned GCHQ's use of a customized Internet cafe which was "able to extract key logging info, providing creds for delegates, meaning we have sustained intelligence options against them even after conference has finished." No further details were given, but the reference to key logging suggested that computers at the café would have been pre-installed with malicious software designed to spy on key strokes, steal passwords, and eavesdrop on emails.

Aldrich said that revelation stuck out as particularly ingenious.

"It's a bit `Mission Impossible,'" he said.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/16/uk-spies-hacked-diplomats-phones-emails_n_3451680.html


Well, at least the NSA didn't spy on the representatives of some of the world's most powerful countries!

Thoughts?
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Old June 18th, 2013 (05:38 PM).
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My thoughts are that I'm beginning to think I'm the only who isn't surprised and thought this was all commonplace since forever.
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Old June 18th, 2013 (08:19 PM).
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I hope it is hard for many of us to swallow for the reason that the West supposedly rides upon the norms of fair play. For the part of the world that appeals frequently to its moral higher ground, this is very underhanded. What is very disappointing to me is that the Western public would likely not be affected by any realization of what their states are actually doing and continue to believe in the West's moral superiority. Democracy and human rights, yes. But that's as far as it goes.

It might be better for me to clarify that I am criticizing those select Western countries that have used these underhanded, if pragmatic tactics. I hope never to have to diss the Swiss, and for the time being, I don't have to.
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Old June 19th, 2013 (03:38 AM).
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Hmm...one of the excuses used by our politicians is "Everyone else is doing it!". Probably true, we were just the first country to get caught. And Facebook etc. have never said who all those requests from the NSA were about - how do you know they weren't spying on world politicians? A lot of world leaders have official twitter/fb probably not manned by themselves, but less notable politicians will have their own accounts where "friends" are actual friends.
Reprehensible, but to be honest I'd say politicians have less of a right to complain than the general public do about the NSA thing - they all keep secrets, yet the public are supposed to assume nothing is allowed to be kept secret.
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