London, November 21 (RHC)-- The U.S. National Security Agency has been spying on British citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing under a secret deal with Britain's intelligence officials. Documents obtained from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden show that a 2007 secret agreement authorized the U.S. spy agency to “unmask” and retain the phone, Internet, and e-mail records of British citizens.
An NSA memo, published in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Britain's Channel 4 News, shows Britons' personal data is being stored in databases to which other members of the U.S. intelligence and military community have access. Washington and London are the two major partners in the “Five Eyes” Club, an intelligence sharing alliance including the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Britons and Americans are supposed to be protected from spying by any of the two countries.
However, documents obtained from Snowden reveal that in “2007, rules were changed” so that the NSA was authorized to collect, analyze, and “retain any British citizens' mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet.” Since early June, documents disclosed by Snowden have shed some light on the scope and scale of Washington's spying activities across the globe.
The documents have shown how the U.S. government collects phone records of all American citizens and tracks the use of U.S.-based web servers by all people around the world. Other documents showed that U.S. spy agencies hacked into the computer systems of other countries' diplomatic missions and that Washington has been eavesdropping on phone calls of at least 35 world leaders including that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of Europes most influential leaders.
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