In addition to the recently-unearthed and scary PRISM, the US Government has also been spying on the users of one of its biggest phone networks, Verizon. And given the oh-so-special relationship between the two countries, it's no real surprise to find that data gleaned from phone records has been shared with British security services.
The specific info being shared is metadata: so not the content of an actual call, but rather the data of who you called, geographic locations, the whole shebang. By running a suspect telephone number through the NSA database, therefore, the specific location of an individual, and who that person has been calling, can be determined.
According to the Daily Beast, while GCHQ (the modern-day Bletchley Park, home to Britain's cyberspies) doesn't have unrestricted access to the database, it can ask its pals over at the NSA to do it a favour and run a phone number or ten thousand through their system. It'd then get unredacted results of those searches.
In other news, sales of Bacofoil are hitting record highs. [Daily Beast]
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