The Guardian has reported that the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the agency responsible for providing signals intelligence to the UK Government, has been making use of the recently outed Top Secret US PRISM programme for its own intelligence collection efforts. PRISM apparently allows the intelligence community to covertly access a broad range of data held on the servers of several major US-based Internet companies.
Pirate Party UK Leader Loz Kaye said:
"If GCHQ has access to this programme, then the Government has some serious questions to answer. Like many, I was already concerned about the parallels between this US programme and the Snoopers' Charter. Now it seems the Communications Data Bill is the least of our worries - some of its desired, but denied, capabilities are already in place and have been since the Coalition came to power."
"Far from simply resisting home grown efforts to emulate this US programme, we now need to know the extent of PRISM's use. I would also like to know why it wasn't addressed when the Joint Select Committee that looked into the risks of the Snoopers' Charter was considering whether there was a need to access more communications data. Once again when looking at serious abuses of privacy and liberty, the only reason we know about this programme at all is because someone had the courage to blow the whistle."
"It is utterly unacceptable that a programme of this sort, one that could be used against UK nationals in the UK, be put in place without any public discussion or apparent oversight. The Pirate Party backs the Open Rights Group's call for a parliamentary enquiry into the extent of the UK's involvement with the NSA PRISM programme."