Report: British spy agency targeted Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

The British government has been able to intercept Internet traffic to see what users of the top social media sites are doing, NBC News reported late on Monday.

According to documents provided by government contractor Edward Snowden, NBC News reported that British cyber spies gave a presentation to U.S. intelligence officials in 2012, detailing how the British intelligence agency “could collect, analyze and utilize YouTube, Facebook and Blogger data in specific situations in real time.” 

The British agency was also able to spy on Twitter, NBC News reported.

The NBC News report builds off last year’s reports that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have intercepted Internet traffic data from fiber optic cables and shared that data.

According to Monday’s report, the program targeting social media data is aimed at broad Internet trends but could be used to target specific user information.

The report points to encryption as a solution to this kind of government surveillance.

“Encryption would prevent simple collection of the data by an outside entity like the government. Google has not yet encrypted YouTube or Blogger. Facebook and Twitter have now fully encrypted all their data.”