Tag Archives: NSA

23 December 2013

“Everyone does it”: NSA Spying and International Law

Seemingly lost in the daily revelations uncovering massive levels of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance – wiretapping and metadata collection alike – is the issue of who is responsible for these violations of the human right to privacy. The quick and ready answer is the United States and certainly no other country is anywhere near as well placed (or, apparently, as intent) on gathering information on what literally billions of people in the world are doing each day – whether it be who they talk to and email, where (physically) these individuals might happen to be at any given time and who is with them, and finally, what people say, believe and perhaps even think.

Yet, although the U.S. should shoulder the lion’s share of (moral) blame and (legal) responsibility, matters are not nearly as simple as this. For one thing, one of the common refrains, at least by defenders of such surveillance programs, is that “everyone” does it, which seems to suggest that the United States is no different from any other country.

Under this scenario, the United States spies on Germany – but Germany also spies on the United States. In that way, if all are responsible no single country could, or should, bear special responsibility.  (more…)

14 November 2013

The Netherlands taken to court over links with the NSA

An alliance of organisations and citizens, among others the Dutch Association of Defense Counsels, the Dutch Association of Journalists, the Internet Society Netherlands Chapter and Privacy First Foundation initiated legal proceedings against the Dutch state, demanding Dutch intelligent services to stop using United States National Security Agency (NSA) data.

The alliance said it is asking the Hague District Court on 27 November to ban the government from using intelligence data gathered by the NSA, using surveillance techniques that breach Dutch privacy laws. The case has been spurred by revelations that Dutch intelligence agencies have exchanged information with overseas agencies, including the NSA. Minister Plasterk confirmed that the NSA had collected information about 1.8 million Dutch phone calls in one month last year and acknowledged that the Dutch Intelligence Agency had supplied information to the NSA and vice versa.

Source: Miami Herald | Dutch government taken to court over NSA links
Source: Xinhua | Dutch Minister Plasterk sued over NSA spying

31 October 2013

Head of NSA: Allies provided phone records of millions of Europeans to the NSA

Head of the National Security Agency (NSA), General Keith B. Alexander stated, during the House Intelligence Committee meeting on NSA spying, that the phone records of European citizens were collected by allied spy services, rather than the NSA, and then subsequently turned over to the NSA. The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials stated that intelligence services in France and Spain collected phone records of their own citizens, which were then turned over to the NSA. Such information is collected by the US and NATO allies in the name of defending their countries and identifying national security threats.

The US has been recently criticised for its spying on European citizens and leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, James R. Clapper Jr., director of national intelligence, at the same House Intelligence Committee meeting, stated that it is a ‘fundamental given’ that other countries, including allies, spy on the US as well. While spying on foreign leaders, according to Clapper, is a ‘basic pillar of American intelligence operations,’ other US officials suggest it is time to review that policy. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared that the US should not be collecting the phone calls and emails of friendly leaders. Furthermore, President Obama is prepared to order the NSA to stop spying on its allied leaders.

Source: The New York Times | N.S.A. Head Says European Data Was Collected by Allies
Source: Wall Street Journal | U.S. Says France, Spain Helped NSA Spying
Source: The Washington Post | NSA chief says NATO allies shared phone records with the U.S. spy agency

12 June 2013

NSA says PRISM data made available to other states, UK involvement confirmed

Documents leaked to the press on Friday 7 June on the US-run covert intelligence-gathering operation, entitled PRISM, reveal that the UK security agency GCHQ has gathered secret digital information through the program at least since June of 2010. According to the US National Security Agency (NSA), the service has also been made available to spy organizations from other countries, but did it not specify which ones. According to Reuters, Germany has not received any PRISM data.

The revelation on the NSA operation has triggered criticism in European capitals, including Dutch, German and Italian officials that denounced the practice of gathering secret data from the world’s largest internet companies as unacceptable and illegal under EU laws. Following denials from Facebook and Google that the companies are giving direct government access to their servers, reports suggested on Friday that Israeli companies may have been involved in wiretapping US telecommunications networks, which would allow the NSA to access data through major internet service providers.

Source: The Guardian | NSA snooping: Obama under pressure as senator denounces 'act of treason'
Source: The Guardian | UK gathering secret intelligence via covert NSA operation
Source: Reuters | UPDATE 1-U.S. surveillance revelations deepen European fears of Web giants
Source: The Daily Dot | Does the NSA's PRISM spying program violate EU law?
Source: GIGAOM | Europeans call for answers over U.S. web spying allegations
Source: Business Insider | DID YOU KNOW?: Two Secretive Israeli Companies Reportedly Bugged The US Telecommunications Grid For The NSA

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