Big Brother Watch response to GCHQ text message story

Responding to revelations about GCHQ having access to an NSA database of text messages:

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “First we need to know how the NSA was able to get access to UK telephone networks and scoop up millions of our texts. Then we need to know who authorised it and why they decided to hand over the private messages of people under no suspicion whatsoever to the Americans without any public or Parliamentary debate.

“GCHQ should not be using foreign agencies to get around British laws.

“If an interception warrant for an individual is not in place, it is illegal to look at the content of a message. Descriptions of content derived metadata suggest the content of texts is being collected and inspected in bulk and if this is the case GCHQ has serious questions to answer about whether it is operating under a perverse interpretation of the law cooked up in secret.

“The telecoms companies providing our mobile phone services need to urgently reassure their customers that they are not handing over our data in bulk to the UK or US governments.”

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Press Office | 8 Comments


  1. Steve
    16th January 2014

    It’s nothing else then UK police using concealed ANPR roadside cameras recording number plates with location data, photo and ownership details and storing it all for 2 years.

    The British public doesn’t seem to care about that, I guess they also won’t care about this one now.

  2. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    Google is Located in Palo Alto USA, Microsoft is Located in Redmond USA, in fact there is not a single british company at the forefront of any of the technology we use. Blindly we have adopted there Information Technology Assurance Standard’s which included there Security & Trust Certification Scheme.

    Here’s a Photo of something I would like you all to see taken on a Google Android Device.

    Which company is responcible for this Root CA Certificate?

    Oh that would be the American Government Body that has no name!


  3. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    When you a British Tax payer are reading your online bank statement’s or you are working in the high courts sending e-Mails to your collegues, do you the british tax payer or the establishment that governs british law think it’s perfectly ok that we’re blindly handing over this personal information to Big Buisnesses in Silicon Valley that are all in bed with organisations such as the NSA & CIA?

  4. Anon
    17th January 2014

    It is very difficult for individuals to get things like this changed. BBW has much more chance of being heard than we do even if we do take the time to write, bang on the door and hang on the telephone for hours while you get passed around the system. Although these stories are on the news they are only news for a fleeting moment in time and then we don’t hear about them again unless others do something about it.

    I don’t agree with ANPR but what can I do. I have pursued a number of issues with some success (not ANPR) but it is a very lengthy, exhausting journey for little or no progress at the end of it.

    Why is it successive governments are voted in and then they go and do things that they never admitted to, never told us about and act in ways that go against what the people want? We need to stop politicians being able to play with our lives the way they do.

    SOME of the British public do care and try to do something about the way our privacy is being eroded but it really is like banging your head on a very hard brick wall.

    • Scott Thompson
      17th January 2014

      True and of course when it all goes to court they have all these Information Technology nerds that will try to bamboozel them with technical jargon about how very difficult it is to manufacture these security context’s that they’ve successfully ingrated into every facate of the British establishment. From our banking system right up to our smart-phones.

      Because buying and selling these security certificates take’s place at a cost of hundreds of thousands of Dollars not pounds Sterling. They will argue that the technology involved in increadibly complex and that not your average Joe can just go and become a Secure signing Authority or Root Certificate Authority…

      But the truth is any idiot with a computer degree can manufacture X509 Certificates as a Root Certificate Authority. They just make it sound difficult so that the Bank’s, the consummers and of course every facate of foriegn government will continue to use there technology with no questions asked.

  5. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    A brief computer history lesson for the nerdy inclined, what is X?

    Or specifically X11 oh that’s the computer graphical display manager.

    So what is an X.509 Certificate which handles the Cryptographic Application Programming Interface really used for? Case closed, that’s how they get into your phone and read your text’s, if you dont like the fact they’re doing it, your options are setup your own network and remove there X.509 replacing it with your own or use a Privacy Guard like the Gnu Privacy Guard to encrypt your text before you send it! Sadly you the consummer must use Espionage to defeat Espionage! Irony!

  6. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    Of course they dont use the X.509 to gain physical access to your device, what they do is quite ingenious, your information gets piped into the GCHQ before it reaches its oversea’s destination and it is there that any secure traffic you have invoked with a Secure Socket get’s recorded and logged, then all they have to do is replay your network traffic into a computer that will strip it of its security context and replay Live what you sent or did. Simple!

  7. Scott Thompson
    17th January 2014

    This is a crude example but the proof is in the pudding as we brit’s like to say…