The powers that allow British intelligence services to spy on people, including foreign diplomats, were established in the Intelligence Services Act 1994.
It was approved, says the document, to provide a framework of large amplitude to allow all staff involved in espionage to could carry out any operation supported by an officer, and the techniques used during the G20 summit four years ago indicate there is a lot of creativity and technological capacity.
This is reflected in Section 1 of the ISA, which says that agencies work “in the interests of national security, with special reference to foreign and defense policies of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, or in the interest of the economic welfare of the UK, or to facilitate the prevention or detection of serious crime. ”
When the law was published, other European countries received it with great suspicion, especially those concerned about the possibility that the inclusion of economic well-being could benefit British business to provide information that would give them an advantage over their rivals.
The exact definition of “national security” is also open to interpretation, because there appears to be no official definition of what it means. All this says that the British services are a huge umbrella under which to hide when they try to develop classic espionage operations.
After the establishment of the ISA powers, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and intelligence services such as MI5 and MI6, the Act on Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIPA) provided them more precise tools to gather information using techniques such as selective interceptions.
As provided in RIPA, the director general of MI5, MI6 and the director of GCHQ are among the 10 senior officials who may apply for an order to act directly to the foreign ministers or Interior.
And the reasons that can serve as justification are almost identical to those contained in the ISA, including the protection of national security and the EWB. Several papers show that appeals to economic welfare were used to justify spying on Turkish and South African diplomats.
A report by the GCHQ does not say explicitly that appeals to the authority granted by ISA or RIPA were used to spy on other diplomats in the G-20 in April 2009 and at the meeting of finance ministers five months later, but it seems inconceivable that the request, as it was evident was not a strategic priority.
Documents show that that GCHQ, meanwhile, intended to do everything possible to promote the policies of the prime minister. “A key objective of the Prime Minister is the meeting of the heads of state of the G-20 in London on April 2,” says the document.
“It has the determination to use the meeting to move towards two objectives: to coordinate the global economic recovery in order to prevent the recession turning into a depression and agree on a way to strengthen global economic governance reform and international financial institutions.
GCHQ’s intention is to ensure that the relevant information for the purposes of the Government of Her Majesty during his presidency of the G-20 reach their customers in a timely manner and allow them to get the most out of it “.
The GCHQ “clients” are the ministers and two intelligence services, MI5 and MI6. It appears that the three agencies were used to the fullest and had the help of the National Security Agency (NSA). It involved spying on mobile phones and smartphones as well as intercepted mailings.
Although the 1961 Vienna Convention “protects” diplomatic communications, MI6 helped to “set up” false cyber cafes to get data from diplomats and officials who must have thought that they were safe from government snoops. There is no evidence, so far, that the interception of communications commissioner, who is responsible for overseeing the intelligence services and the legal framework in which they operate, was directly involved in the spying. That may mean that the work was done through compartmentalization.
In 2009, the ministers approved authorizations to intervene 1,706 devices. Sir Paul Kennedy said in its annual report that “never stopped being impressed by the quality, dedication and enthusiasm of the officers who carry out this task. They have detailed knowledge of the legislation and are always eager to ensure respect for the law and appropriate safeguards. “