It seems Bude is in the news again, and this time it isn’t the sea pool in the limelight but GCHQ Bude.
According to another leak from former US Intelligence Analyst, Edward Snowden, the USA paid out £15.5 million towards development of Cornwall’s secret spy base, bringing the total to over £100 million paid to GCHQ over the last three years. Obviously, Governments do not invest their money for no reason so the implication is clear, that the USA wished to influence data gathering; certainly, the article suggests that documents show that USA expected a return on its investment..
Bude GCHQ is, of course, the transatlantic internet traffic monitoring station. Many of the transatlantic fibre-optic cables carrying the digital traffic land in Cornwall, including one at Widemouth Bay. Sensitive or interesting documents can be stored for a time and the whole issue remains sensitive. No one would argue with the need for national security, but Snowden’s revelations go a step further.
For example, The Guardian also highlighted concerns that UK companies like BT and Vodafone are secretly collaborating with GCHQ, passing on details of customer phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. A customer backlash is expected and, if all this is true, why not? After all, people who are not a threat to national security do not expect to spied on. The Guardian article stated:
Documents seen by the Guardian suggest some telecoms companies allowed GCHQ to access cables which they did not themselves own or operate, but only operated a landing station for. Such practices could raise alarm among other cable providers who do not co-operate with GCHQ programmes that their facilities are being used by the intelligence agency.
This once again raises serious concerns that monitoring, not necessarily in the interests of national security, is taking place. Government should be accountable.