Monday

25th Sep 2017

EU intelligence agencies complicit in NSA snoops, US senator says

A top US senator told the European Parliament foreign relations committee on Tuesday (26 November) that US snooping was done “largely in co-ordination with your countries intelligence services.”

US Senator Chris Murphy, who chairs the senate's foreign relations subcommittee on European affairs, said the collection of so-called metadata is a “conversation that is more appropriate to have on a bilateral basis” with member states than with EU institutions.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

  • EU intelligence agencies fed metadata to the NSA, says US senator (Photo: *n3wjack's world in pixels)

Metadata can show a person’s habits as it includes a broad sweep of information including browsing history, map searches, email activity and smart phone GPS data.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to the Guardian newspaper show that the National Security Agency (NSA) collects and stores the metadata of millions of people, even if they are not suspected of any crime.

“The record has shown that in most all instances, these metadata collection programmes are done in co-ordination with our European allies,” said Murphy.

He stopped short of naming the member states involved but noted that US reforms are underway that “would essentially end the collection of metadata.”

The metadata collection statements back up similar comments made in October by the US spy chief General Keith Alexander who heads the NSA and Dianne Feinstein, a senator chairing the intelligence committee.

Murphy, along with two other US congressmen, was in Berlin on Monday before heading to Brussels in an effort to restore stretched ties with EU partners.

Murphy told MEPs that many in Congress believe the US had crossed a line “in the way which we have conducted espionage because we know the trust that has been breached through the tapping of the [German] Chancellor’s phone”.

But he said existing bilateral agreements should not be tied to “resolution of many these issues.”

He cited Swift, which involves the transfer of bank data between the US and the EU, the EU-US passenger name record agreement, and the current free trade negotiations.

“You don’t need to deliver an additional message to the United States by compromising our collective security through the suspension of these agreements,” he said.

The senator said the US was open to new data privacy agreements to ensure “that European rights are respected when they are using websites in the United States.”

But he warned that placing additional restrictions on the EU-US data exchange agreement known as Safe Harbour would have economic downsides.

“No one will ultimately be helped, no economy will be assisted if we compartmentalise the Internet,” he said.

The Safe Harbour agreement allows US companies to operate in Europe without EU oversight.

After it emerged that the agreement was being abused, the EU threatened to suspend it. In a review due on Wednesday, the commission is set to say the agreement must be more transparent.

But in warning to Washington, the review is also expected to note that it could still go ahead and suspend the agreement if improvements in its use are not made.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

EU agency to fight election hacking

A new-model EU cybersecurity agency could help states defend their elections against "hybrid attacks", the Commission has said.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel