Tempora: The Americans And The British Are Recording All Phone Calls And All Internet Activity

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All-Seeing Eye

What would you do if you knew that the government had tapped all of your phones, was watching everything that you do on the Internet and was keeping a copy of all of your emails?  Well, the truth is that this is essentially exactly what is happening right now.  Over in the UK, a British intelligence agency known as Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has tapped into the cables that all of our phone calls and all of our Internet activity go through.  All of the information that goes through those cables – phone calls, Internet searches, Facebook activity, emails, etc. – is gathered, recorded and stored by GCHQ.  This information gathering program is referred to as “Tempora”.  It is being reported that GCHQ records 600 million “telephone events” every day.  In addition, GCHQ shares all of the data that it gathers with the NSA.  Reportedly, there are 850,000 people in the United States that have top secret clearance that have access to this data.  Needless to say, nothing that you do on your phone or on the Internet will ever be “private” ever again.

The Guardian first broke the story about Tempora thanks to information that it received from whistleblower Edward Snowden.  According to the Guardian, Tempora has been operational for about 18 months…

One key innovation has been GCHQ’s ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user’s access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.

The existence of the programme has been disclosed in documents shown to the Guardian by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as part of his attempt to expose what he has called “the largest programme of suspicionless surveillance in human history”.

GCHQ is apparently not very concerned about what happens to all of that data after they turn it over to the NSA.  Their attitude seems to be that the NSA can pretty much do whatever it wants with it

The Americans were given guidelines for its use, but were told in legal briefings by GCHQ lawyers: “We have a light oversight regime compared with the US”.

When it came to judging the necessity and proportionality of what they were allowed to look for, would-be American users were told it was “your call”.

The Guardian understands that a total of 850,000 NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases.

Are you upset by this?

You should be.

What Tempora basically amounts to is an “all-seeing eye” for the Internet.  The potential for abuse is staggering.  Just imagine what a tyrannical government could do if it knew what every single person was doing on the Internet 24 hours a day.

So far there hasn’t been that much outrage about these revelations in the United States, but in other parts of the world people are absolutely steaming about being permanently spied on by these intelligence agencies.  For example, the following is a brief excerpt from a recent Der Spiegel article

The term, “information superhighway” has always been insufficient to describe the Internet. In reality, the Web is a global communication space containing the private information of a large part of the population of every developed country. If someone were able to train an all-seeing eye onto the Internet, the blackmail potential would be almost limitless.

It is precisely this all-seeing eye that the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the American National Security Agency (NSA) have developed under the name Tempora. An appropriate real-world metaphor for the program might be something like this: In every room of every house and every apartment, cameras and microphones are installed, every letter is opened and copied, every telephone tapped. Everything that happens is recorded and can be accessed as needed.

It sounds preposterous, but it is frighteningly close to the reality that was unveiled by the Guardian on Friday. Together, the GCHQ and NSA monitor Internet traffic by tapping directly into the data stream sent through fiber-optic cables. They are able to copy and cache this data, to be sifted through later as needed.

It is easy to understand why the rest of the world is so outraged.

After all, how would you feel if you knew that a foreign government was spying on all of your phone calls and recording every single thing that you did on the Internet?

How in the world can we claim that we are an “example” for everyone else on the planet and that we are the great defenders of “liberty” and “freedom” when we are openly admitting that we are going to intercept all of their phone calls and all of their Internet activity and keep all of that data indefinitely?

Right now, the NSA is building the largest data center that the world has ever seen out in Utah.  It is going to have approximately a million square feet of storage space, it will have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data, and it is going to cost about 2 billion dollars to construct.  The facility is going to be so massive that it is going to take about 40 million dollars a year just to pay for the energy needed to run the data center.

Every phone call you make, every Internet search you conduct, every Facebook status update you post and every email you write will be held there.

Would you want a foreign government doing that to you?

Are you starting to understand why the rest of the globe is absolutely disgusted by all of this?

For much more on these spying programs, please see my previous article entitled “21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know“.

If the American people do not demand change now that all of this has been publicly revealed, it will be a signal to those that are doing the spying that they can go even farther with their spying because people really don’t care.  And it will be a signal to the rest of the world that we have fully embraced tyranny.

Please stand up and say something about this while you still can.

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth.  His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

The Beginning Of The End - The New Novel About The Future Of America By Michael T. Snyder
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  • Syrin

    I’ve been warning my friends about this for at LEAST 2 years now. How did this all of a sudden become such big news? I switched all my communications YEARS ago just for this reason.

    • Sarah Greenfeld

      what do you mean “switched your communications”?

    • Hammerstrike

      Its a conspirucy theory, if it was true pepole wuld, like, speak out or somethin´.

      The guvernement just wouldn´t be able to keep it a secret and democratic governements doesn´t lie to people about this kind of stuff, Obama himself said so!

  • Graham

    Get talking, emailing and texting and jam up their Orwellian systems. It’s very clear who the real terrorists are and how scared they are of people’s freedom.

    This elite, corporate, satanic control matrix will meet its ultimate fate. Can’t wait to see them go down when the public regain their senses.

    In the reality that most people should be living in, a PRISM is used for bending light, not the truth.

  • Ralfine

    You can’t have 100% supervision. At least not at reasonable costs.

    Gay people learn at a very early age to live two lives. In public they are the sweet boys, nerds, fire fighters that marry their childhood sweetheart, and in private they have dreams and desires they act upon.

    And when these two lives clash, everybody else is horrified, surprised, disappointed.

    The internet makes it much easier to produce a respectable front.

  • Winston Smith

    I love Big Brother

  • Kim

    Ani, my college student daughter, said she didn’t care if the government (aka authority) monitored her FB or Internet use and cell phone cause, and I quote “i dont have anything to hide”, she said. I (politely) pointed out the idiocy in her reasoning but she stood her ground, as I expected she would.

    So, later, after she forget about the conversation, to really nail the point, I asked her if I could please have her FB password and twitter password, and her cell phone, I just want to see what she is texting and messaging in the privacy of her own social media sites. Wow– she did NOT want to give me (the friendly authority looking out for her interests) any access to her private stuff.

    “No, u can’t have my phone. No, you can’t even hold it.”

    “Why not?”, I asked. “You don’t have anything to hide, right?”

    “Of course not”, she said. “It’s a matter of privacy. It’s none of your business”, she continued…

    Did I bring up Prism and Tempora? No. Ill let her stew on it for awhile.

    I love these teaching moments. :-))))))


  • seth datta

    There is a program of supervision, it is called ‘organised stalking/mobbing and electronic harassment’.

    It usually starts out as workplace harassments against whistleblowers/dissidents/oddballs/activists/people of strong morals; then it escalates into community-based harassment.

    The Stephen Lawrence enquiry where a cop was paid solely to discredit witnesses and get them arrested so they could not testify, is just the tip of the iceberg.

    This is the modern day cointelpro/gestapo, for a society (the West) that is in economic and social decline. It is intended for social control, along with the police state that has grown up around us, to the point that it is all a new generation will know.

  • lilbear68

    old news. a google search with a starting point of 2002-2004 to the present will show that the govt has been monitoring all communication all along. public knowledge that no one cared about enough to bother looking or speaking up about. its too late now kids, if you lose a right to the govt (like the 4th ammendment) you aint getting it back. what snowden did was tell us about old history. why? i have no idea but i do know govt monitoring our communication was common knowledge.
    IMHO this is just a pressitiute corps smoke screen to cover what is really in the works. so they can say ‘wow i didnt see that comming’ you remember just like they did with the 2008 crash. there were a few that knew and were on target but did we listen? naw, the Big Game was on and we had our toys. just like now