Governments are of course already listening in to our mobile and land line phone communications, this we can only accept and nothing can be done in the short term to prevent it. We have to be sure though that these hacking interceptions are for genuine security reasons and are not used for commercial purposes.

At both GCHQ and at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire the US and UK governments are down loading and monitoring vast quantities of communications data. Published information shows that there are thousands of NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to the data bases of both sites.

Other documents reveal that even in 2012, GCHQ was handling 600m “telephone events” each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time.

We assume that in the West that governments will largely ignore commercial telephone traffic (maybe!) Without proper oversight, how will we know?

Companies operating in foreign jurisdictions are particularly vulnerable to state sponsored hacking, tapping and eavesdropping. With state sponsorship there is no limit to the scope of their activities and there is no defence to counter it.

We should never ignore the ”Back to Basics” approach to eavesdropping. Daily new stories are reported which refer to the use of transmitters and simple bugging devices and we should all be alert to these threats as well as phone tapping and data hacking by governments.

Peter Clements

GCHQ, hacking, NSA, tapping

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