The Intercept reports: There was a simple aim at the heart of the top-secret program: Record the website browsing habits of “every visible user on the Internet.”
Before long, billions of digital records about ordinary people’s online activities were being stored every day. Among them were details cataloging visits to porn, social media and news websites, search engines, chat forums, and blogs.
The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
The revelations about the scope of the British agency’s surveillance are contained in documents obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Previous reports based on the leaked files have exposed how GCHQ taps into Internet cables to monitor communications on a vast scale, but many details about what happens to the data after it has been vacuumed up have remained unclear.[Continue reading…]