The confidential intelligence leaked by Edward Snowden has impaired the ability of UK intelligence hub GCHQ to monitor and track criminal communications, according to a British newspaper. Unnamed intelligence officers told The Daily Telegraph that the Snowden revelations have not only taught criminals how to avoid being monitored, but that communication suppliers have become more reticent about handing over sensitive information.
ISP and telecom companies are “refusing to hand over evidence on the likes of drug smugglers or fraudsters” because they do not pose a “direct threat to life”, according to Daily Telegraph security editor Tom Whitehead.
An unnamed security official told the newspaper, “Snowden has been very damaging to our work. We have specific evidence of where key targets have changed their communication behaviour as a direct result of what they have read.”
The source continued, “They have moved to more secure forms of communication and we have been unable to assist the NCA (National Crime Agency). It takes longer to help law enforcement and because we only focus on the most serious, the top end networks, then the impact they have in the mean time is multiplied.”
“We have techniques that need to be protected,” the source said. “The choice is not to pursue a network and we have decided not to press ahead where there is a possibility of being detected.”
But some independent security experts remain sceptical about the claim:
— Spy Blog (@spyblog) December 22, 2014
Source: The Register