The United Kingdom's main security agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is apparently working with the United States' Prism intelligence program to gather data on various internet companies, The Guardian reports. Documents given to the UK news outlet indicate that GCHQ was able to retrieve "personal material such as emails, photos and videos" from internet companies operating outside the UK, and the GCHQ employed 197 intelligence reports in 2012 alone. This allows the UK government to circumvent red tape that would otherwise tie up the process of acquiring information from companies located outside of its own region.

Apparently the GCHQ's been working with the US Prism service since "at least June 2010," and it's unknown how that's impacted UK citizens in the past several years -- a GCHQ representative wouldn't comment on how long the two agencies have been working together. Though the GCHQ didn't directly confirm the collaboration, the agency issued a statement to The Guardian stating it, "takes its obligations under the law very seriously."

The PRISM system is said to enable access to records held by the nine largest internet companies, from Apple and Google to Skype and even Engadget's parent company, AOL.

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Report: UK security agency also gathering secrets through PRISM