There have been talks that the FBI will soon have permission to break into computers anywhere on the planet. However, it comes to no surprise that the UK is following the same approach, having granted similar authority to its Intelligence Services. However, the biggest surprise is that the UK Government openly admitted it has the power and liberty to do so.
The British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the broad power to hack into personal phones, computers, and communications networks, and claims they are legally justified to hack anyone, anywhere in the world, even if the target is not a threat to national security nor suspected of any crime.
This comes as a response to its ‘Open Response’ followed the court cases filed against GCHQ last year. This is what the Intelligence Services revealed, according to Privacy International:
Buried deep within the document, Government lawyers claim that while the intelligence services require authorisation to hack into the computer and mobile phones of “intelligence targets”, GCHQ is equally permitted to break into computers anywhere in the world even if they are not connected to a crime or a threat to national security.
In addition to the latter, the GCHQ openly admits and tells how it was able to hack into Gemalto’s SIM network, a story which was deemed as controversial last year.
The intelligence services assert the right to exploit communications networks in covert manoeuvres that severely undermine the security of the entire internet. The deployment of such powers is confirmed by recent news stories detailing how GCHQ hacked into Belgacom using the malware Regin, and targeted Gemalto, the world’s largest maker of SIM cards used in countries around the world.
The important part about this is not the actual information, but the fact that bringing court cases against the GCHQ has revealed more details which were previously kept as a secret. This apparently shows how effective this strategy is and how it could reveal even more secrets in the future, should it be used again.
Thank you TechDirt for providing us with this information