back to article GCHQ and Cable and Wireless teamed as Masters of the Internet™

Cable and Wireless provided UK intelligence agency GCHQ with access to the internet connections of millions of global users, going as far as to tap India's second largest telco, Snowden documents reveal. The telco, since acquired by Vodafone, operated under the GCHQ pseudonym "Gerontic" when it opened and managed a secret …

  1. Mark 85


    The agency said, in a canned comment, that it does not comment on intelligence matters and operates with rigorous oversight.

    Yep... and the great Yahoo Messenger photo slurp was mandated and overseen by...?????

    Yeah... I know... I'm probably scheduled for a vacation at Gitmo now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some things never, ever change

    The usual suspects; government agencies overreaching their powers because they can, hand in hand with the private sectors nose in the trough, all wrapped in a fog of spin and PR.

    Its a crime in itself that the only people in a position to break their knuckles for it are the ones responsible in the first place. At least in this case the Indians are usually very good at outrage.

  3. king of foo


    This really pisses me off. We've been in a global recession due to banks, who are supposed to be regulated by government, being greedy arseholes, and then bailed out by taxpayer money... and then we find out that as well as this happening, and big corps dodging tax, the bloody g men have been spaffing millions more tax payers money away every month to spy up someone else's skirt!

    You'll be telling me they've been protecting pedos next... oh, wait, what???

    Vive le revolution

    1. DanDanDan

      Re: money

      Vive la revolution - (almost?) all words ending -tion in French are feminine.

      1. king of foo

        Re: money

        Apologies, my French is restricted to 4 letter words these days (like "bank", Mr Bryant) and I spent my lessons at school smoking and trying to get into a certain girl's knickers instead of actually attending. Thankfully I have never once been to France so it was a decision well made, even if I did fail miserably!

        ...and thanks, anti-troll defence league, I hope you have a lovely weekend,

        Oh reservoir (full of tears of regret), moan Amy (to someone else's embrace)

        I wonder if she's still single, if not I might be trying to figure out if it's cherchez la femme or le femme...

    2. charlieboywoof

      Re: money

      well said sir (or madam)

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Vodaphone...""..has denied the GCHQ had direct access to its network"

    As for it's subsidiaries.

    Not so sure.

    1. SW10

      Re: "Vodaphone...""..has denied the GCHQ had direct access to its network"

      "We will only supply information to government when we are legally compelled to do so, we won't go beyond the law and we will comply with due process," Deadman said.

      I'm sorry Mr. Deadman, you're talking about the future. My question concerns the past.

      1. Immenseness

        Re: "Vodaphone...""..has denied the GCHQ had direct access to its network"

        Is it only me for whom the word "direct" leaps out and does a little dance then hides shyly amongst the other words? It is? Oh, I'll get my coat...

  5. Uncle Slacky
    Black Helicopters

    Common knowledge at PK

    Used to work for C&W at Porthcurno - it was an open secret that MI5 (at least) had people working and being trained there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Common knowledge at PK

      Pk was a nice place!

      whilst working for C&W I had the pleasure of 'tapping' some of the Vauxhall voice traffic,

      but remember folks that C&W *was* the overseas branch of the GPO, so you can't really blame them for continuing close connections to governmint.

      Meanwhile, over at the Cabinet Office website

      Membership of the Technical Advisory Board.

      The Technical Advisory Board has 6 members from the communications industry, 6 from government intercepting agencies and a neutral chair. Members are appointed by the Home Secretary in accordance with the guidelines published by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

      Current members

      The current chair is Peter Walker. The industry representatives are:

      Bob Hughes (O2), Timothy King (BT), Simon Mackenzie-Crooks (BSkyB), Andrew May (Cable and Wireless), Gerald McQuaid (Vodafone), Jacqueline Mellor (Virgin Media)

      Details of board members who represent intercepting agencies is not public information.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Common knowledge at PK

        It's actually been common knowledge since World War I that C&W was tapped by the signals intelligence agency of the day. Why on earth is anybody surprised? This story is 100 years old. Don't expect it to change any time soon.

  6. Roo

    [GCHQ] operates with rigorous oversight.

    ... And in other news, we all have nothing left to hide so there no point in them intercepting traffic.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I feel sorry for the spooks....

    ..can you imagine the problems the guys had logging the fault calls.

    Ring ring <hold 45 minutes>

    Hi yes, "Nigella" has gone done.....what do you mean you have no it's with C& guys.....yes I know your Vodaphone, but you took over Thus who took over C&W....what? you don't have access to Thus stuff? But it C&W, not Thus origianlly.... your going to transfer me?.....<hold 30 minutes> Hi, it's about "Nigella" I just phoned Vodaphone.....what do you mean you don't have the records and I need to speak to Vodaphone, they just transferred me...what do you mean your C&W worldwide and never had anything to do with Thus? I'm confused...what your going to transfer me...<hold 30 minutes>. Vodaphone! but..but...but...ah sod it...I can't go on like this......<BANG> <THUNK>

    1. Richard 45

      Re: I feel sorry for the spooks....

      I would've hoped that the spooks had better English than that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So this is why Vodafone don't pay tax, it's all making sense now.

    1. Mayhem

      Re: Ahhh

      Exactly what I thought.

      £5 says that a close inspection of the tax records revealed an unusually large entry from government accounts, which was buried asap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahhh

        .... And locked in the CEOs private safe, a copy of a nice little HMRC 'get out of jail free card' issued by GCHQ, just in case the questions get too awkward.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wondered why vodafone were let off their £6 billion tax bill

    wonder how many pieces of silver they bought with that lot?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: AC Re: wondered why vodafone were let off their £6 billion tax bill

      "wonder how many pieces of silver they bought with that lot?" So - just for comedy value - which particular terrorist are you equating with Jesus? You seem to have missed the fact that the vast majority of Islamist terrorists in caught in the UK have been of the Indian subcontinent ethnic group and often in contact with terror groups in the Indian subcontinent, so tapping lines to India and Pakistan would seem both logical and probably productive.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: which particular terrorist are you equating with Jesus?

        At the time both the Jews and the Romans considered Jesus a terrorist - these days a "terrorist" is simply someone who opposes Government policy or fails to believe Government statements.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Version 0.1 Re: which particular terrorist are you equating with Jesus?

          "At the time both the Jews and the Romans considered Jesus a terrorist - these days a "terrorist" is simply someone who opposes Government policy or fails to believe Government statements." Which has nothing to do with the previous poster's bizarre statement. Or are you claiming someone like Mohammad Sidique Khan and his - IMHO - cowardly and murderous act fits your definition of 'holy prophet'?

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