Former NSA officer Edward Snowden on Tuesday revealed that the British secret department of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been monitoring Pakistan’s communication data.
Snowden, who has been residing in Moscow, revealed the shocking information during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Snowden stated that to access such data, an exploitation of the computer network was used. He stated that the information was accessed by hacking routers of CISCO. Snowden also stated that the spying was done with the permission of the British government.
Snowden stated that the apparent aim of such an act was to aid in the identification of terrorists.
The British government has refused to comment on Snowden’s revelations.
Snowden also revealed that it is almost impossible to protect the access of data of modern day smart phones from the security agencies.
Smartphone users can do “very little” to stop security services from getting “total control” over their devices, the US whistleblower said.
The former intelligence contractor told the BBC that UK intelligence agency GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owners’ knowledge. He said GCHQ could gain access to a handset by sending it an encrypted text message and use it to take pictures and listen to the phone’s surroundings, etc.
He did not suggest that either GCHQ or the NSA were interested in mass monitoring of citizens’ private communications but said both agencies had invested heavily in technology allowing them to hack smartphones. “They want to own your phone instead of you,” he said.