16 Dec 2015 at 14:03, Duncan Campbell
The “Big Brother” comprehensive national database system feared by many MPs has been built behind their backs over the last decade, and even has a name for its most intrusive component: a central London national phone and internet tapping centre called PRESTON.
PRESTON, which collects about four million intercepted phone calls a year, has also recently been used to plant malware on iPhones, according to disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The phones were then targetted for MI5 “implants” (malware), authorised by a ministerial warrant.
The location and role of the PRESTON tapping centre has never previously been publicly identified, although published Crown Prosecution Service guidance to senior prosecutors refers to secret “Preston briefings” which they can be given if tapping evidence in a case they are prosecuting reveals that a defendant may be innocent. (The guidance also notes that the briefing may be given after exculpatory intercept evidence has been destroyed.)
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