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More internet woes for the Government

By Angela Harbutt
May 4th, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Comments Off on More internet woes for the Government | Posted in UK Politics


The usually publicity-shy GCHQ has taken the highly unusual step today of issuing a statement about its activities. The Sunday Times reported at the weekend,  that £1bn is being spent on a “Mastering the Internet (MTI)” programme that  involves “thousands of ‘black box’ probes being covertly inserted across online infrastructure” .

GCHQ responded today with a public denial that it intends to track all emails, web visits and telephone use. It confirmed that is was developing tracking technology but “only acts when it is necessary” and “does not spy at will”. So we can all relax then…

..Except, whilst it went some way to explaining what it was NOT doing, it did not attempt to explain what it IS doing or for what purpose. And given that several hundred million has already been awarded in contracts, when is this planned to be discussed by our elected representatives in Parliament.

On the upside it may well be a sign that “the powers that be” have finally got the message that we do not take kindly to having our privacy and liberties continually assaulted.

And this just made me laugh….

Radio 5 Live Drive reported this evening that when they phoned the secretish government facility earlier today, it was greeted with the message….”Thank you for calling GCHQ. We ought to tell you that this phone call may be recorded and used for training purposes “.

I called GCHQ this evening as a concerned citizen to ask why they were not using fully trained professionals to answer their phone calls …and got the following message “Welcome to GCHQ. This is a non secure line.Your call may be monitored or recorded for lawful purposes..”

The question is.. did i dial a different number, or were they monitoring Five Live Drive ? ..And should i have tagged this note with the word “GCHQ” .. and what will they make of the websites i visit ?

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