The UK has refused to cooperate with the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office in a case involving the alleged interception of communications of Belgacom Group by the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in 2013, Belgium’s De Standaard reported.
According to Belgium’s De Standaard, the incident is unusual for relations between two EU member states and might result in a diplomatic raw.
Earlier in the week, Belgium’s National Security Council discussed a confidential report of the Belgian federal prosecutor general, which concluded that the GCHQ had cracked Belgium’s largest telecommunications company Proximus Group, formerly known as Belgacom Group in 2013.
In September 2013, a document released by former US National Security Agency (NSA) officer, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the GCHQ orchestrated a cyber attack against Belgacom’s computer network in an operation dubbed Socialist in August of the same year. According to the leaked documents, the cyber attack enabled the GCHQ to gain access to the personal data of the telecommunication company’s customers.
According to experts, the interception of Belgacom clients’ communications might have been carried out by the Network Analysis Centre, a GCHQ division, and authorized at the senior governmental level. Belgacom’s clients, in particular, included the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament.