UK also sourcing 'personal data' through contentious US-run Prism programme

London, June 8 (ANI): UK security agency Government Communications' Headquarters (GCHQ) with the help of US top spy agency's covert programme has got access to information from world's leading internet firms.

According to The Guardian, CGHQ has had access to the system since June 2010, and has been generating reports based on the data procured with the US run Prism programme, which allowed access to emails, photos and videos from an Internet company outside UK.

Prism, which raises ethical and legal issues regarding direct access to personal information of millions of Internet users worldwide, recently gave National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI easy access to the systems of nine of the world's biggest Internet companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype.

Due to changes in the US surveillance law, Prism was established in 2007 to provide in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information about foreigners overseas.

The NSA considers Prism to be one of the most valuable, unique and productive accesses of intelligence and confirm that the service is provided to GCHQ.

However, GCHQ said that it takes obligations under the law seriously and ensures that the activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate.

As most of the Internet companies are based in US and are beyond the jurisdiction of British laws, UK agencies have to go through a formal legal process to obtain information from service providers.

In order to save time, UK took to Prism service of which many of the tech giants refuse to be aware of. Google said that it does not have a back door for the government to access private data and Apple refuses to be aware of Prism and claim that if it were accessing their systems it would be doing it without their knowledge.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence in US, said that the data collected by Prism is most important and valuable intelligence information to protect their nation from threats, the report added. (ANI)


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