Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.
The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.
~ from GCHQ Intercepted Foreign Politicians' Communications at G20 Summits by Ewen MacAskill, Nick Davies, Nick Hopkins, Julian Borger and James Ball ~
You see, it is not just the Americans. Though our spying programs are the most pervasive, it seems that most democratic governments are up to much the same thing!! While leaders wax eloquently about the right of privacy and the need for fairness, they obviously don't believe strongly in either. Any opportunity to gain an unfair advantage is welcomed with open arms [in secret].
What we have been learning lately through the courageous acts of whistleblowers is that the democracy we think we have is a lot more watered down than we realize. There is a small cadre within the upper echelons of the elite who exercise an almost unfathomable degree of power. Whenever it looks like the democratic process might thwart their machinations, they swing into action to insure that a level playing field evaporates into the ether. They don't want to leave anything to chance, so they do their darnedest to rig the game beforehand!