The UK government’s spy arm, GCHQ has spied on “every visible user on Internet” from 2007 to the present day, according to The Intercept.
Using a programme called KARMA POLICE (possibly named after the Radiohead song), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) worked to track the browsing habits of the entire internet, creating profiles of suspicious activity such as visiting Islamist websites.
The programme started off by tracking those who visited online radio stations and has since expanded to include other aspects of the web. Each variant was given a separate — and very strange — code-name. “SOCIAL ANTHROPOID” is what the agency uses to analyse text based conversation, such as email; “MEMORY HOLE” monitors search engine terms and links them to IP addresses; “MARBLED GECKO” tracks Google Maps and Earth; and “INFINITE MONKEYS” checks online forums and bulletins.
According to the report, GCHQ has captured over 1.1 trillion “events” — web browsing sessions — in its database, titled “Black Hole.” Volume grew from 30 billion “events” per day in 2010 to 50 billion in 2012, according to the documents.
The data that is collected can help GCHQ, along with its equivalents in other countries, to target highly specific individuals. According to The Intercept, the technology was used to find engineers within a Belgian mobile network who could then be used to transfer malware into the company’s system — all without their knowledge.
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