Follow the money?
"SZ also notes that the new leak details payments – in one case more than £20 million – to C&W and Vodafone for the cable access."
I've long wondered how the <ahem>companies</ahem> track these backdoor <quote>payments</quote>. And if these payments are reported to the authorities in the normal channels. And if they involve any banking operations that are outside of the rules that most of us play by (have to.)
Some nice bloke in a nice suit manages to have a private discussion with another nice bloke that happens to work in a swell job. After a bit of socialization (drinks, dinner, nice "friends") perhaps the conversation comes around to something like the following:
Q: Oh, by the way, Robert. My organization is hoping to be able to glean some insights from your telecommunications data. Would you mind if we tapped into your cables, your IT networks, your servers/desktops, etc.?
R: Oh, that wouldn't be right, would it, George? After all we have the privacy interests of our customers listed somewhere near the top 20 items of our charter.
Q: Quite right. And we would, of course, honor your commitments. Only anonanonamized content would be collected.
R: But it seems like there would be some risk of loss of confidence. And my position-of-stature might be hurt.
Q: Would, say, £20 million be enough to defray the costs of rebuilding stature? And just between you, me, the listening wall, etc., this defrayment is a non-traceable gold-backed deposit in a special bank that no one knows about. Don't worry about taxes and all that nasty stuff.
R: (we know how that went.)