How a British Spy Agency is Manipulating the Internet

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hacker using laptop. Lots of digits on the computer screen. A startling new report questions whether a British spy agency may be blurring the line between online surveillance and state propaganda. (Shutterstock)

New documents provided to journalist Glenn Greenwald by NSA leaker Edward Snowden show that a British intelligence agency has been manipulating the internet.

Greenwald's new site, "The Intercept," reports that the British spy agency Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has developed a suite of covert tools to manipulate internet content and usage.

Ranging from tools to change the outcome of online polls, to artificially increasing website traffic, this startling report questions whether the GCHQ may be blurring the line between online surveillance and state propaganda. 

The revelations come as hearings begin in the United Kingdom to determine whether the GCHQ's mass surveillance programs violate human rights. The British Parliament also plans to debate a new law that would expand the government's reach into internet activity.

To help us understand this new leak and what it means for internet users in the U.K. and around the globe, we turn to Julia Angwin, an investigative reporter at ProPublica and author of "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance."


Julia Angwin

Produced by:

Allie Ferguson


T.J. Raphael

Comments [1]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Once they use these tools on you, you've got major problems," -Julia Angwin on new "dirty tricks" techniques of infiltrating your online information.

Ms. Angwin has a fun way of describing our future in paranoid terms. I hope The Takeaway will have her back on the show for future distopian discussions.

Jul. 16 2014 01:40 PM

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