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Tempora is the codeword for a formerly secret computer system that is used by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). This system is used to buffer most Internet communications that are extracted from fibre-optic cables, so these can be processed and searched at a later time. It was tested since 2008 and became operational in the autumn of 2011.

Tempora uses intercepts on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet to gain access to large amounts of Internet users' personal data, without any individual suspicion or targeting. The intercepts are placed in the United Kingdom and overseas, with the knowledge of companies owning either the cables or landing stations.

The existence of Tempora was revealed by Edward Snowden, a former American intelligence contractor who leaked information about the program to former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in May 2013, as part of his revelations of government-sponsored mass surveillance programs. Documents Snowden acquired claimed that data collected by the Tempora program is shared with the National Security Agency of the United States.

Usage examples of "tempora".

He spent the day with Carl, experimenting with the tempora tube, trying to find out what it would do, trying to explain it.

They were descriptive of the electron flow within the tempora tube that he and Carl had made.

Humans explored and intruded again it, and built their stations and lived their lives, a biolq, ical contamination of the infinite, a local and tempora condition.