KARMA POLICE, The Intercept


KARMA POLICE is a mass surveillance programme that collects web-browsing habits from “every visible user on the Internet”. It is used to create profiles that show the web browsing histories of people who browse the Internet unencrypted (e.g. without the use of Virtual Private Network or services such as TOR). The programme keeps a record of all websites visited including social media and news websites, search engines, chat forums, and blogs (INT01). The programme requires the interception of data from the fibre-optic cables that transport Internet data and communications across the globe. The system then analyses metadata that reveals people behaviours and activities online.

Capabilities (INT01):

  • Creates profiles of web-browsing habits
  • Analyses instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions.
  • Watches for “suspicious” Google searches and use of Google Maps.

Exploitation of:

Data extraction sources:

  • Unencrypted Internet traffic such as: HyperText Transfer Protocol (http) activity, an insecure protocol used to send and receive data from the web.

Combined with other state surveillance tools:

TEMPORAfibre-optic cable tapping

Layers of operation:


KARMA POLICE was created by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) approximately seven years. The programme collects mass amounts of data and not targeted to specific individuals. The data repository, Black Hole, is used to store metadata from between 30 days to 6 months.


The Intercept (INT)
1) PROFILED: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities



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