U.K. Spy Agency Secretly Taps Over 200 Fiber-Optic Cables, Shares Data With the NSA

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The British spy agency GCHQ has secretly tapped more than 200 fiber-optic cables carrying phone and internet traffic and has been sharing data with the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a news report. The spy operation, which included placing intercepts at the landing points of transatlantic undersea cables where they surface in the U.K., has allowed the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to become the top interceptor of phone and internet data in the world, according to the Guardian newspaper, which broke the story based on documents leaked by former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden. One part of the operation, codenamed Tempora, has been operating for about 18 months and allows the agency to tap large volumes of data siphoned from the cables and store it for up to 30 days for sifting and analyzing. Each of the cables carries about 10 gigabits of data per second, which the paper likened to sending all of the information in all the books in the British Library through the cables 192 times every 24 hours. via Wired.com.

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