UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


UK Top Spy Agency More Tight Lipped Than NSA: Report

RIA Novosti

16:51 12/09/2014

MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - The UK top surveillance agency - The Government Communications Headquarters {GCHQ), a British equivalent of the US National Security Agency - has turned out to be even more tight lipped and secretive about its activities than its overseas counterpart, according to a UK charity.

The UK Privacy International, which specializes in investigating the "secret world of government surveillance and exposing the companies enabling it" received a blanket refusal to any of its inquiries regarding the GCHQ.

In its attempt to find more about the international agreements, the so-called "Five Eyes Alliance" arrangements, the charity group sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the authorities in all the five member states.

The Five Eyes surveillance alliance is a group of five countries - UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – who share the intelligence among each other and jointly cooperate in signals intelligence, be it communications between people, electronic signals, etc.

The mere existence of the alliance, not to mention their rules and internal arrangements remained top secret until the revelations by Edward Snowden shed some light on it.

Privacy International sent the inquiries, referring to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 of the UK Parliament, which gives the public the right to access to information held by public authorities.

But GCHQ has refused to provide not only information on its activities, but also such a mundane data as its cafeteria menu, Privacy International wrote on its website.

It turns out that GCHQ, along with some other intelligence agencies, are exempt from complying with the FOI requests.

This week Privacy International applied to the European Court of Human Rights with a legal challenge demanding the release of the secret documents detailing the spying agreements between the countries.

The charity specified it is aimed at understanding the "guidelines that set the boundaries of what certain cooperating intelligence agencies can and cannot do to the citizens of their own countries and to foreigners".

"The rules that govern massive coordinated communications surveillance, operations, hacking and the exploitation of networks and devices in the name of national security and public interests".

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list