The British government ordered the monitoring of computer activity and phone calls of foreign officials attending two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009. A Guardian exclusive report says the systematic spying included British intelligence setting up internet cafes to read email traffic, bypassing security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor email and calls, live round-the-clock summary to 45 analysts, and getting reports from American agency NSA in its attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev. The disclosure raises concerns about Britain’s center of signal intelligence, GCHQ and its American counterpart, the National Security Agency. NSA defends its access to phone and internet data as crucial in the fight against terrorism and organized crime but the G20 spying seemed to have been done to secure an advantage in meetings. Targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey. The operation was sanctioned in principle at a senior level in the government of then prime minister, Gordon Brown, with documents explicitly referring to the intelligence being passed on to “ministers”. The evidence comes from top secret documents uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The expose comes as Britain prepares to host another summit Monday for the G8 nations. It is likely to lead to tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain.
Read the full exclusive article on The Guardian.
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