Snowden papers: UK’s GCHQ spied on G20 delegates

Computers, emails, phone calls monitored; BlackBerrys hacked during 2009 summits

Tags: United Kingdom
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Snowden papers: UK’s GCHQ spied on G20 delegates Snowden's revelations have now extended beyond the US intelligence services and have exposed operations on the other side of the Atlantic. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  June 18, 2013

Foreign delegates attending two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers and telephone calls monitored by UK intelligence services, The Guardian reported yesterday.

Documents handed to the British newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, have now extended beyond the US intelligence services and have exposed operations on the other side of the Atlantic.

The papers reveal that Britain's communications agency GCHQ was central to an operation conducted in April and September 2009, that involved systematic surveillance of data and communications during the international G20 summits. In some cases foreign officials were lured into making use of Internet hotspots that had been rigged to scan network traffic.

The revelation comes as the UK hosts the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, which is being attended by many of the same attendees as that of the 2009 meetings.

Snowden has leaked a number of documents regarding an NSA surveillance project, dubbed Prism, which involved the reportedly unwilling participation of several Internet services companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. While the US campaign has been defended by officials as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime, the UK operation was reported by the Guardian to be "for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings".

Apart from the Internet hotspots, other specific initiatives included the monitoring of the Turkish finance minister and his entourage; liaising with NSA operatives on an attempt to monitor the communications of the then Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev; regularly updating 25 analysts with information on calls made by delegates; and hacking attendees' BlackBerrys.

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