It hasn’t been long since the National Security Agency’s top secret PRISM program came to light. It was also reported that UK’s eavesdropping agency, the GCHQ, had also accessed data through PRISM. The Guardian now reports that the same agency also monitored communications of foreign delegates that had come to the UK for two G20 summits in 2009. Fake internet cafes were also reportedly set up around the meeting locations in a bid to capture login details of foreign delegates for future surveillance, through keyloggers. These reports are likely to raise tensions in the forth coming G8 summit in UK, which includes all of the countries that were present in the two 2009 G20 summits.
The Guardian claims to have received documents as evidence of this monitoring from none other than Edward Snowden, the 29 year old former CIA technical analyst who is also behind the PRISM leak. These documents apparently include information about “ground breaking intelligence capabilities” that the GCHQ used for its monitoring operations in 2009. The level of monitoring reportedly went so far as to the penetration of security on delegate’s BlackBerry smartphones to monitor their phone calls and e-mails. Some 45 analysts were apparently provided with live summary of who was calling who at the 2009 G20 summits. It has also been reported that same high level delegates were targeted in particular, these include the Turkish finance minister and some 15 people in his delegation as well as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, for which the GCHQ received reports from NSA’s attempts of listening in on his satellite-linked phone calls to Moscow.
In little over a week, many of the clandestine surveillance operations of some of the most notorious agencies in the world have come to light. While the average user still worries about what kind of data access their favorite internet companies are providing to the NSA, which they deny, monitoring of foreign delegates’ communications by the host country is a very serious allegation. An official response on these allegations have not been issued as yet by the GCHQ.