The agreement between the NSA and GCHQ means that the internet and phone data of Americans is in the hands of the Brits without legal oversight.
The data, once obtained, can be kept for up to two years. GCHQ was forced to reveal that it can request and receive vast quantities of raw, unanalysed data collected from foreign governments it partners with during legal proceedings in a closed court hearing in a case brought by various international human-rights organisations, including Privacy International, Liberty UK, and Amnesty International.
It is well known that the NSA and GCHQ share intelligence data with one another, as part of a long-standing surveillance partnership, but this is the first time the British government has disclosed that it does not require a warrant to access data collected and maintained by its American chums. This flies in the face of statements made by an oversight committee of the British Parliament in July of last year.
At the time, Parliament was told that “in each case where GCHQ sought information from the US, a warrant for interception, signed by a minister, was already in place.” Clearly GCHQ forgot to mention mass data which it mines for data.