The Guardian and The Washington Post recently published slides about the PRISM project of the US government’s National Security Agency (NSA). The agency is engaged in mass surveillance of users around the world. I assume, the topic is well known to readers of our blog. International protests against PRISM are mostly focusing on US spying by NSA and FBI only. But other countries have projects like PRISM too.
The NSA counterpart in Canada is the CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada). Like NSA the CSEC has far-reaching national security powers to monitor and map electronic communication signals around the globe. Defense Minister Peter MacKay spoke about the spying activities only: “We don’t target Canadians, okay.”
The British counterpart of NSA is called GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). It operates in partnership with NSA, CSEC and other spying agencies, uses an own worldwide nework of monitoring station and is part of ECHELON.
The DSD (Defence Signals Directorate, Australia) and GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand) are cooperating with NSA, CSEC and GCHQ too (UKUSA Agreement). Both are ECHELON partners with own monitoring station. The cooperation includes information sharing. According to Fairfax Media’s sources, intelligence agencies in Australia have been receiving a high volume of valuable data from NSA, with some even coming from the PRISM program itself.
The NSA counterpart in Sweden is called FRA (Försvarets radioanstalt). In June 2008 it got the power to warrantlessly wiretap all telephone and Internet traffic that crosses Sweden’s borders. Swedish people are target of FRA espionage too.
France has an own spying network called Frenchelon. Like the US counterpart Echelon it is not only used for counter terrorism but economic espionage and spying on political activists too.
The secret Onyx interception system is the Swiss intelligence gathering system for espionage and maintained by the NDB (Federal Intelligence Service). It is used to monitor telephone, fax and Internet communications worldwide. In 2006 a secret document sent by the Egyptian department of Foreign Affairs to the Egyptian Embassy in London and intercepted by Onyx was public.
The NSA counterpart in Russia is the SSSI (formerly FAPSI). It was setup in 2003 by reorganization of intelligence agencies in Russia and has unlimited power to warrantlessly wiretap all internet communications. The FBI counterpart in Russia is the FSB. The interception system SORM offers unlimited, direct access to the servers of almost all Russian ISPs for the FSB (Wired). Intercepted e-mails and phone calls were published by Russian media in 2011 to discredit opposition member. The largest social network in Russia is Vkontakte.ru with 200 million members. It cooperates with FSB and sent data of opposition member.
In Germany warrantlessly wiretapping and espionage is done by BND (Federal Intelligence Service). It is scanning 20% of all emails routed over German AS for 16,400 keywords. In 2010 the keyword scanners sent copies of 37,000,000 email to the BND for more detailed analysis. In 2008 W. Schäuble (formerly minister of the interior) recommended the setup of a spying agency like NSA or like the British GCHQ for Germany. The project was cancelled in 2010 but the recommendation was renewed by R. Wendt last days.
Minister of the interior Friedrich approved, that German intelligence services gets valuable data from NSA but he didn’t know anything about a program called PRISM.