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The UK spy agency is monitoring millions of social media accounts

The UK spy agency is monitoring millions of social media accounts

Reports were made by non-profit privacy organisations that the UK GCHQ is collecting social media data from potentially millions of Facebook and Twitter accounts. According to the documents published by the organisation, the agency is collecting and accessing information through databases of private companies.

It is yet unclear what the UK Spy Agency is exactly monitoring on social media, but according to Privacy International, the data collection may include biographical details, commercial and financial information, communications, travel data and other legally privileged communications.

This bulk data collection that is being conducted by the HCGQ is said to potentially include personal information on millions of individuals with no “legitimate intelligence interest”. A full explanation for this has not been provided, but there are speculations going around. According to Ben Jaffey QC from Privacy International, this kind of operation could be deployed in support of an unlawful detention or torture programme, in the violent interrogation of a suspect or in order to identify a target.

No evidence has been found to support that the control principle is operated or respected bu those who came into the possession of the data. On top of this, it seems that the GCHQ operated without the knowledge of other government agencies, which is seen by many as a worrying sign.

This is not the first time that intelligence agencies’ practices have been found to be unlawful when it comes to bulk data collection. Even though the risks associated with these activities are clear, since they tend to make online privacy completely non-existent, it seems that the intelligence agencies continue to go through with them. Not only is the personal data scraped and collected in bulk, it may also be shared with foreign governments.

This is big hit for the online privacy, since less than a month ago Privacy International also warned that 21 member states from the European Union are retaining personal data with no reason or justification. Human rights are being violated and also data retention legislation is not being respected.

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Posted on by in Privacy

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