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Government silent as Snowden docs reveal access to Ireland's internet cables

It has been revealed that UK authorities have access to one Irish submarine internet cable.

PastedImage-98259 A map of submarine cables. Source: Submarinecablemap.com

A NEW RAFT of documents released by Edward Snowden to a German newspaper allegedly details UK authorities’ access to Ireland’s internet traffic.

However, the Government has remained silent on the issue this morning.

The documents, published earlier this week by Süddeutsche Zeitung with the Irish connections identified by The Irish Times, revealed an extensive list of submarine communication cables that the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has access to.

One of these is SOLAS, a 232km cable that stretches from Kilmore Quay in Wexford to Oxwich Bay in the United Kingdom.

Owners of the cable contacted by The Irish Times denied any knowledge of the activity.

Two other cables, ESAT1 from Kilmore Quay to Sennen Cove and ESAT2 from Southport, also appear on a list of cables.


Part of the “partner cable” list published. Click here to view a larger PDF version.

Another cable that lands at Ireland, Hibernia, is on a list of to which there is no access to currently.

These optical fibre cables carry a range of data, from internet traffic to telephone calls.

When contacted by this website today, spokespeople for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice had no comment to make.

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Earlier this week, as part of an inquiry into the murder of UK solider Lee Rigby, it was revealed that UK authorities collect so much data that they are unable to access or monitor it all.

“However, the resources required to process the vast quantity of data involved mean that, at any one time, GCHQ can only process approximately *** of what they can access,” the report read.

As detailed in this inquiry earlier this week, some security services do have access to internet traffic to facilitate investigations.

First published 8.53 pm

Read: UK spies can’t handle all of the data they collect >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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