A new report reveals that the UK’s current mass surveillance program was initiated under former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The report released by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden also said that the program has a specialist internet and phone tapping center at MI5’s London HQ under the code-name PRESTON.
The National Technical Assistance Centre, a shadowy intelligence cell, was set up by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1999 to counter encryption and act as the UK’s code-breaking specialist, the report said.
The report also noted that banks and airlines are included as authorized targets. Moreover personal financial details can be intercepted, stored, decrypted, and copied. Some airlines, including British Airways (BA), voluntarily hand over their passengers’ information, while other companies are subject to tapping warrants.
Last month, Snowden revealed that spy agencies in the US and United Kingdom were aggressively developing tools to hack mobile phones without their owners' knowledge.
Snowden is a US privacy activist, computer professional and former CIA employee who leaked classified information about NSA spying programs in 2013. He leaked classified intelligence documents showing massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.
“It’s no surprise that the successive governments in the UK have been pressing ahead with a massive spying program,” a London-based analyst, Sukant Chandan told Press TV's UK Desk.
He went on saying that there is no difference between governments from left or right as all of them are just looking to snoop on the public more and more.