As reported in the Guardian here, GCHQ’s mass surveillance programmes are probably illegal. Currently GCHQ staff members are able to use the existing loop holes in the current statutory framework, knowing that they are able to act with impunity. It seems that GCHQ has taken a leaf out of the banking industries book, in the way that they avoid paying as little tax as possible, without breaking the law.
Should we be particularly surprised that all governments are spying on all digital telecommunications? We like to think that being in the UK this sort of thing does not happen and that this only happens in oppressive regimes that have dictators as head of state.
The fact is that government agencies will continue to glean this information, even when the current media hiatus has calmed down.