SECRET REPORTS leaked by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how UK mass surveillance of phone and internet activity was accessed by Scottish police forces.
The documents confirm that a little-known policing body called the Scottish Recording Centre (SRC) was given access to information logs that includes millions of communications data including phone activity, internet histories, and social media behaviour on Facebook.
The confirmation that UK state spy agency GCHQ ran a specific programmed, called “MILKWHITE”, to share data with devolved policing and tax authorities is the first Snowden leak to directly implicate Scottish authorities in the controversial policy of ‘bulk data’ collection.
American news site The Intercept, which has access to the Snowden files, explained MILKWHITE gave “an obscure Scotland-based surveillance unit” access to “huge troves of metadata” from UK state surveillance.
‘Metadata’ includes who a surveillance target is calling, emailing, what websites they visit, and, when location data is available, a person’s movements. The scale of secret surveillance caused global outrage over a lack of transparency, invasions of privacy and abuses of power when the first Snowden documents were released in 2013.