Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Unreported NSA spy systems revealed

A speaker invited to a European Parliament hearing into the large surveillance programme by the US intelligence agency NSA has revealed two previously unreported systems used to spy on people.

Jacob Appelbaum, an American investigative reporter who accepted the German Whistle-blower Prize on the behalf of former NSA agent Edward Snowden in Berlin in late August, told the civil liberties committee that the full details of the systems would be revealed “in good time.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Guardian editor in chief says the West needs to protect whistleblowers, not jail them (Photo: *n3wjack's world in pixels)

Appelbaum, who is also a software developer and computer security researcher, said he is aware of one NSA programme which specifically targets types of software to sweep up data from people who are not terrorists.

Another system sends NSA agents into urban areas to penetrate people’s home wireless networks.

“To break into your house is the kind of stuff you would see in a Cold era war movie and they have training slides in fact doing exactly that electronically when they can’t get in in another way,” he said.

Another revelation at the hearing came from investigative reporter and forensic expert Duncan Campbell who said Sweden's National Defence Radio Establisment (FRA) is partnered with the NSA and the British intelligence service GCHQ.

Campbell said Sweden is the biggest collaborating partner, outside the English speaking countries, with the GCHQ.

"The global surveillance system is, if not curtailed, spreading through the EU with the participation of not only my country, the United Kingdom, but with the very active and collaborative participation of a second member state, Sweden," said Campbell.

Deputies called the hearing as part of a greater effort to understand the extent and scope of the NSA’s Prism programme on EU citizens, first revealed by The Guardian after former NSA whistler blower Edward Snowden approached Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald in mid-May.

Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, speaking live via video feed from London, says the paper ran with the stories to reveal the level of espionage conducted through partnerships between the state and corporations.

“The mass harvesting of information of entire populations, anybody who is using digital equipment is being put under some form of surveillance, and that seems to be something that cannot happen without consent, it cannot happen without the consent of the population, and that consent cannot be given without information,” he said.

Rusbridger says government attempts to stop newspapers from publishing the revelations while also announcing they want to hold a debate on the scandal at the same time is not possible.

The UK government, for it is part, made a threat of injunction against the paper unless it destroyed hard drives containing the Snowden files.

It also used an obscure terror law to detain David Miranda, Greenwald’s partner, at Heathrow airport. Miranda is an integral part of the team working on the files, says Rusbridger.

Senior officials in the UK government have also told him to stop releasing the stories.

“To me it is not for the state to be telling journalists when to stop,” he said.

He added: “I’ve had to sit there and listen to people lecture to me about security where the only people who have so far leaked the material are the agencies that are supposed to keep this material safe.”

Rusbridger said he voluntarily destroyed the hard drives in order to avoid the legal implications found in UK’s prior-restraint laws that prevent journalists from publishing.

He said such laws are “chilling for journalism” but do not exist to the same extent as in the US.

“This is why we are now in collaboration with our American partners because the American laws, the First Amendment in particular, offer a more robust protection for this kind of reporting than exists certainly in Britain but I would guess in much of Europe,” he noted.

He said Europe’s version of the US amendment, listed as Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, fails to offer the same standard protection for journalists.

“Article 10 doesn’t have the same weight as the First Amendment of the American constitution does and I think it would be a common feeling among European journalists that we don’t have the same protection against prior-restraint and in favour of freedom of expression that exist in the United States,” he added

The parliament hearing is the first of 12 meetings scheduled this year. The deputies are set to issue a report at the end of the year on their findings into the impact of the US-led spying programmes on EU citizens.

Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes

The former Bosnian Serb warlord was sentenced to life in prison for committing genocide and war crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Mladic is still regarded as a 'hero' among some Bosnian Serbs, in a country undergoing resurgent nationalism.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

Austrian privacy case against Facebook hits legal snag

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems may sue Facebook Ireland in an Austrian court but won't be able to pursue a class action suit in Austria, according to a non-binding opinion by a top EU court advisor.

MEP switches vote on 'private expenses' transparency

A small group of MEPs are looking into how members of the European Parliament spend the monthly €4,300 'private expenses' funded by taxpayer money. Last month, MEPs voted on transparency amendments on the funds.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  2. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  3. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  4. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  6. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  7. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  8. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  10. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  11. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future