internet-surveillanceShort Bytes: The government security agencies try to intercept information about people on the internet. The agency takes the help of companies which provide network recording products to suck information from the internet. According to leaked documents, GCHQ took the help of Endace to create mass surveillance systems.

The term “surveillance” was there in the dictionary since a long time but has been given more preference than other words in the last few years. Probably, after the Endward Snowden’s revelations about the spying activities conducted by NSA. His documents also revealed that the British intelligence agency living in The Doughnut is also interested in looking into people’s lives.

These agencies do it in the name of security, that they want to fight crime and it needs to be done at the cost of privacy. But the thing is how these agencies manage to suck huge volumes of data from the internet. Earlier, we told you about RCS Labs and the demo video of their spying tool. There are many other similar companies.

As far as GCHQ is concerned, The Intercept has published leaked information about a New Zealand-based company Endace which provides network recording solutions which can be used by governments – GCHQ being the biggest customer in recent years – to harvest information like social media activity, private emails, internet history, etc.

Snowden’s leaked documents reveal that the almost 25% of the world’s internet traffic passes through the UK via commercial internet cables. And the country wants to fill as much data buckets from the internet ocean as it can. By 2009, GCHQ was quite busy with surveillance of undersea cables. The amount of data monitored was measured in tens of gigabits per second (10Gs). They were able to store the data collected from 87 different 10Gs capacity cables. By March 2011, the goal was to escalate the data funneling to 415 of such 10Gs cables with a long-term goal of reaching 800 10Gs.

The leaked documents reveal that Endace turned out to be an appropriate tool supplier to fulfill GCHQ’s dream of making world’s largest secret surveillance system. A statement of work from February 2010 described a £245,000 ($299,500) monitoring solutions upgrade deal for FGA or friendly government agency – a name used for GCHG in internal documents – allowing interception of internet traffic and storing it in data repositories or memory holes.

endace-network-monitor
Image: Endace | A data acquisition and generation card used to monitor networks.

Endace’s technology “generates significant export revenue for New Zealand and builds important technical capability for our country,” said Stuart Wilson, Endace CEO, in a statement. “Our commercial technology is used by customers worldwide … who rely on network recording to protect their critical infrastructure and data from cybercriminals, terrorists, and state-sponsored cybersecurity threats.”

Founded in 2001, Endace sprouted from an academic research project at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zeland. Other than the security agencies, it’s consumers includes large telcos like AT&T, AOL, Verizon, Sprint, Telstra, etc. Endace’s products are used by these companies to test network security. But it also allows these companies to intercept users’ phone call and internet data which is requested by law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation.

You can read the complete article published by The Intercept here.

If you have something to add, tell us in the comments below.

Also Read: “10 Immutable Laws of Security” That Every Geek Must Know