Communications between British on social networks are considered external and can be intercepted.
The British government has asserted the right to intercept communications that go through services like Facebook, Google and Twitter that are based in the United States or other foreign nations, even if they are between people in Britain.
The report says that the findings are based on a government document that the groups obtained through a lawsuit.
The government document says contact between British people through social networks based elsewhere, or use of search engines located outside Britain, constitutes “external communication,” and as such, is subject to interception, even when no wrongdoing is suspected.
Advocacy group Privacy International has refused to comment government‘s decision until the information is confirmed officially.
Google‘s representatives said: “We provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process.”
The British government’s defense was in response to a lawsuit filed last year by privacy advocates, including Privacy International and Amnesty International, related to disclosures about government surveillance by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency.
The privacy groups also want the British government to stop its Tempora surveillance program, which allows intelligence agency to intercept Internet traffic.