No online communication is for your eyes only in the age of Internet surveillance by government spy agencies. But a leaked British spy catalog has revealed a wide array of online tools designed to also control online communication by doing everything from hacking online polls to artificially boosting online traffic to a particular website.
The spy catalog information developed by the British spy agency GCHQ comes from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to The Intercept.
Such documents don't contain much in the way of technical information about how the online spy tools work, but they do reveal a colorful array of code names for methods aimed at both collecting information and manipulating online information seen on websites such as Facebook and YouTube. The GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) that developed the catalog described most of the tools as being "fully operational" or else "very close to being ready."
Some of the most intriguing spy tools show the UK spy agency's desire to control and manipulate both online and cellphone communication, including emails and popular social media networks such as Facebook. In the latter case, a tool named "Clean Sweep" can "masquerade Facebook wall posts for individuals or entire countries." Another tool called "Burlesque" can send spoofed (faked) SMS text messages. And "Scrapheap Challenge" can send fake emails that appear to originate from a target Blackberry device.