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Privacy Government United Kingdom United States

How To Find Out If GCHQ and the NSA Spied On You, and How To Complain 79

Mark Wilson writes: Privacy International has created a platform through which individuals and organizations can file complaints with GCHQ about surveillance of phone calls and internet usage. The charity has long concerned itself with government surveillance, particularly the sharing of data between the NSA and GCHQ. The legality of mass surveillance has been questioned by many, and it has already been determined that human rights organization Amnesty International was illegally spied on. Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have led to a huge increase in awareness of privacy issues, and now Privacy International is making it easier to find out if you were spied on, and to lodge an official complaint.
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How To Find Out If GCHQ and the NSA Spied On You, and How To Complain

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  • by Doug Otto ( 2821601 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:29PM (#50521715)
    "Have you used the internet or a phone in the last 10 years?"

    Congratulations, you've been illegally spied upon!
    • More like, are you alive? Then you've been spied on.

      You don't even have to use a phone or the internet. There are cameras everywhere!
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      10 years? I first noticed that traceroute was showing my connections bouncing around half a dozen addresses in Cheltenham on their way from one part of London to another in 2000.
  • by rippeltippel ( 1452937 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:31PM (#50521729)

    Q: Hey, did you spy on me?
    A: Nope. But thank you for asking, we'll start right away.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The people who want to know if they've been spied on likely have something to hide. This is a easy way to figure out who to concentrate on.

      • The people who want to know if they've been spied on likely have something to hide. This is a easy way to figure out who to concentrate on.

        A new twist on "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about".

    • It's like the Streisand Effect.

    • There's an old joke that if you ask the FBI if they keep a file on you, they may answer 'we do now.'

  • If (Score:4, Interesting)

    by buck-yar ( 164658 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:44PM (#50521803)

    If it says you were spied on, it means:
    - maybe you were spied on
    - maybe you weren't spied on

    If it says you weren't spied on, it means:
    - maybe you weren't spied on
    - maybe you were spied on

    In either case, you may now be on a list that is asking. What a clever way of narrowing down the list of people the NSA needs to keep tabs on (If you're doing something wrong, you'll probably want to know if the authorities are on to you).

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:54PM (#50521879)

    really, filing a complaint with a UK charity that has 8 employees?? Even I'm laughing hard, and I'm a victim of government spying. Word your complaint with boulders in the desert so it's visible from outer space while you're at it, it'll do fuck-all as much good

  • I have my FBI file (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @05:58PM (#50521905) Homepage Journal

    After my clearance was issued I obtained it through the freedom of information act. Great reference material (we moved a lot).

    While this was mostly information I sent myself, there are the interviews of your reference's, spontaneous interviews, and what they have found.

    One would assume anything of importance from the NSA be included as well.

    • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @06:43PM (#50522155)

      One would assume anything of importance from the NSA be included as well.

      Bad assumption.

      First, Federal agencies aren't known for cooperating with one another by default.

      Second, the FBI come from Law Enforcement, the NSA's roots are Military. Military and Law Enforcement don't cooperate without a gun to their head (oddly enough, that's why there IS a CIA and NSA - Hoover's FBI wouldn't cooperate willingly with Army/Navy/etc intelligence agencies (and don't get me started on how the Army/Navy/Air Force intel shops don't talk to each other without a gun to their collective heads))....

  • If they confirm they have spied on you, does this give you legal standing to sue? If so, expect them to neither confirm nor deny anything.
    • If they confirm they have spied on you, does this give you legal standing to sue? If so, expect them to neither confirm nor deny anything.

      They're not exactly going to admit they illegally spied on you, surely? So what are you going to sue them for?

  • A complaint, eh?

    Well, regardless of whether we spied on you before, you can be assured we will now because clearly you have something you don't want us to know about.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:48PM (#50523033) Journal
    From the 'Be careful what you ask for' department:
    A friend told me a story once about a friend of his: Someone he knows wondered if the FBI had a file on him. So he called the FBI and asked them flat out, "Do you have a file on me?". Their reply was "We do now". I believe this 100% applies here; if you inquire as to whether they've spied on you in the past, you're probably guaranteeing that they're going to spy on you in the future, just because you drew attention to yourself.

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH

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