World Bulletin/News Desk
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain has been spying on hotel reservations worldwide to monitor diplomats, a new report says.
German weekly Der Spiegel reported that for more than three years, GCHQ has been using a system to automatically monitor hotel bookings of at least 350 hotels around the world in order to detect diplomats’ travels.
The report was based on leaked documents by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.
According to the report, the aim of the program, codenamed “Royal Concierge,” is to inform the GCHQ, at the time of the booking, of the location and hotel a foreign diplomat plans to visit.
The leaked documents stated that the booking information enables the “technical operations community” to make the necessary preparations prior to the diplomat’s visit.
Among the so-called preparations included wiretapping the hotel room telephone and fax machine as well as the monitoring of computers connected to the hotel network (“computer network exploitation.”)
Furthermore, the leaked documents showed that in cases of “governmental hard targets,” the surveillance could involve “human intelligence” operations, such as deploying human spies to listen in on a diplomat’s conversations at the hotel lounge.
Last week some details of GCHQ's partnership with the NSA were revealed. UK spy agency was providing the American colleagues with the internal information intercepted from Google and Yahoo's private networks.
A LinkedIn spokesman said that the company was "never told about this alleged activity" and it would "never approve of it, irrespective of what purpose it was used for."
The UN special rapporteur, Frank La Rue, has said he is alarmed at the reaction from some British politicians following the Guardian’s revelations about the extent of the secret surveillance programs run by the UK’s eavesdropping center GCHQ and its US counterpart the NSA (National Security Agency), it was reported in the Guardian.
“I have been absolutely shocked about the way the Guardian has been treated, from the idea of prosecution to the fact that some members of parliament even called it treason. I think that is unacceptable in a democratic society,” said La Rue.
According to Edward Snowden, the NSA has been spying on at least 38 foreign Embassies in the US and intercepting the e-mails and mobile phone calls of 35 foreign leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2013, 16:39