U.S. obtained permission to spy from the UK government, which allowed it ” unmask ” and analyze the phone numbers and fax numbers, email and Internet IP addresses of any British citizen. These details were obtained from a 2007 secret memo from the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States, the one in charge of illegally eavesdropping pretty much everyone around the world.

The original document was revealed first by the British newspaper, the Guardian, which explained that it belongs to a package of documents given to him months ago by former CIA employee Edward Snowden.

The memorandum does not explain who specifically within the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British eavesdropping agency, authorized these activities or if they were known by the Labour government of the time. Until then, that intelligence was limited to landlines.

The document is important because it undermines the thesis that Anglo-Saxon countries that form the so-called Five Eyes (USA , UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ) are not spying each other.

The information was collected “accidentally” by the NSA, which is interpreted as a sign that “the affected individuals were not in principle objectives of surveillance operations and therefore were not suspected of any wrongdoing”, said the Guardian.

The NSA has used these data in the UK “to build so-called ‘life patterns’ or analysis of ‘chains of contacts’ under which the agency may look into upwards of three levels beyond the scope of the analysis: examining communications from a friend of a friend of a friend.” The Guadian says that according to details the three levels, in the case of a typical Facebook user, for example,  could affect more than five million users.

The document was sent to all analysts from the Signals Intelligence Directory (SID) of the NSA, the entity responsible for collecting, processing and sharing information gathered by U.S. spying agencies.

The Guardian explains that a draft directive of the NSA of 2005 reveals that the snoops were preparing to authorize staff to spy on all the countries of the Five Eyes if necessary “when it is in the best interest of every nation”. It has not been confirmed whether the draft was finally adopted and implemented.

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