Snowden's Squeaky Dolphin leak: Brits spy on YouTube, Facebook behavior

Snowden's Squeaky Dolphin leak: Brits spy on YouTube, Facebook behavior

Summary: What the Brits were trying to do was cull an ocean of data---even relatively meaningless Facebook likes and YouTube shares---to garner some insight.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Security, Networking
1

The latest documents from Edward Snowden highlight how the British government was monitoring YouTube and Facebook behavior in real time without consent.

Snowden's latest document dump was reported by NBC News, which also published a presentation. The documents were initially taken from the National Security Agency. The snooping was detailed in a presentation called “Psychology A New Kind of SIGDEV" (Signals Development)."

Special Feature

IT Security in the Snowden Era

IT Security in the Snowden Era

The Edward Snowden revelations have rocked governments, global businesses, and the technology world. When we look back a decade from now, we expect this to be the biggest story of 2013. Here is our perspective on the still-unfolding implications along with IT security and risk management best practices.

What the Brits were trying to do was cull an ocean of data---even relatively meaningless Facebook likes and YouTube shares---to garner some insight. Earlier on Monday Snowden documents revealed how the British government was able to tap into the cables that carry the globe's Web traffic. The GuardianThe New York Times and ProPublica working together each published claims that smartphone apps "leak" data from iPhone and Android apps, which are then piggybacked by Britain's GCHQ and the U.S. National Security Agency.

Earlier: Meet the 'Spy Smurfs': Here's how the NSA, GCHQ target iPhones, Android devices

The timing of the latest Snowden dump---a day before President Obama's State of the Union speech---is hardly coincidental.

While the Brit snooping is a new revelation it's hardly surprising after Snowden's NSA data dump last year. It is obviously sketchy that the British government is monitoring YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, but there's the classic big data problem. What exactly were the Brits hoping to find in the sea of cyber junk and online sharing?

Like many enterprises, the British government was using Splunk to mine a sea of data and display the analytics graphically.

In its presentation, the Brits noted that all that data lacked context. So the plan was to use "targeted enrichment" to find influence at scale and ultimately wrongdoers.

squeaky dolphin slide

Topics: Security, Networking

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google & Facebook worse than NSA

    There's no way to hide from the NSA. End of discussion. But, you have the freedom to choose whether or not you use Google and Facebook. Those companies violate our privacy in ways that are worse than the NSA. So don't complain about the NSA if you are using those sites. That's just pure ignorance. Instead, I recommend checking out privacy-based services such as Ravetree, DuckDuckGo, and HushMail.
    chrisp114