Edward Snowden has revealed that GCHQ has actively monitored journalists in the US and UK who work for large media organisations. It probably continues to do so.
Media organisations such as BBC, Reuters, The Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde, The Sun, NBC, and The Washington Post had their emails intercepted by GCHQ.
A total of 70,000 emails were scooped up by GCHQ in just 10 minutes in November 2008. This reveals the extent to which their snooping power extends. With the recent Paris Terror attacks and Cameron’s desire to increase online surveillance – the snooping may get much worse in the near future.
The Guardian reports:
GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.
The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.
The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.