Six ways that NSA and GCHQ spying violated your rights, and six things you can do about it

Ruth from the Open Rights Group sez, "With the huge amount of evidence leaked by Edward Snowden on surveillance by the NSA and the GCHQ, the Open Rights Group has compiled a list of the top 6 points that everyone should know about how their rights have been violated. To combat this tide of privacy-invasions ORG also list the 6 key things that they want to do in response, and how you can help the biggest year of campaigning against mass surveillance. We believe that if enough people speak up we can change how surveillance is done."

ORG is great organisation (I helped to found it, but am not involved in its daily operations in any way, apart from marvelling at the staffers and volunteers there) and their game-plan for mapping and securing redress for spy agencies' lawlessness is exemplary. I hope you'll join the group and help out.

1. In an operation called PRISM the NSA gathers content, emails and browser history from major US companies like Facebook, Google and Yahoo. GCHQ have been able to tap into this resource.

2. In the UK the GCHQ programme Tempora taps undersea cables to gather all electronic data passing in and out of the UK.

3. Edgehill is a UK programme which works with its US counter-part Bullrun and seeks to weaken commercial encryption systems, working in secret partnerships with IT industries to insert backdoors into security products.

4. 850,000 NSA employees and American private contractors have access to GCHQ's databases.

5. Companies have little option but to comply with requests for information. In the summer some secure email providers shut down rather than hand over users' data to the NSA.

6. In the UK these practices were hidden from the Cabinet, the National Security Council and the Communications Data Bill Committee, choking democratic debate.

NSA and GCHQ are in a committed relationship of over-sharing.

(Disclosure: I'm proud to have co-founded the Open Rights Group, and to volunteer on its advisory board)