News / Europe

Report: Europe's Spies Work Together on Mass Surveillance

FILE - Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London, Aug. 21 2013.
FILE - Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London, Aug. 21 2013.
Reuters
Spy agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance of Internet and phone traffic comparable to programs run by their U.S. counterpart denounced by European governments, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday.

Citing documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian said methods included tapping into fiber optic cables and working covertly with private telecommunications companies.

The Guardian named Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands as countries where intelligence agencies had been developing such methods in cooperation with counterparts including Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ.

The report is potentially embarrassing for governments, especially in Germany and France which have been the most vocal in protesting about U.S. mass surveillance of European communication networks revealed by Snowden since June.

Germany, jointly with Brazil, circulated a draft resolution to a U.N. General Assembly committee on Friday that called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other gross invasions of privacy.

There has been particular anger in Germany, a close ally of the United States, over the revelation that the NSA monitored the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Snowden has written an open letter to Merkel and other German authorities to say he is counting on international support to stop Washington's “persecution” of him.

The Guardian reported that GCHQ files leaked by Snowden showed the British agency taking credit for advising European counterparts on how to get around domestic laws intended to restrict their surveillance powers.

“Huge technological potential" 

Citing a 2008 GCHQ country-by-country report, the Guardian said the British spies were particularly impressed with Germany's BND agency, which they said had “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the Internet”.

“We have been assisting the BND... in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany,” the GCHQ document said, according to the Guardian.

The GCHQ had also praised France's DGSE agency and in particular its close ties with an unnamed telecommunications company, a relationship from which GCHQ hoped to benefit.

“We have made contact with the DGSE's main industry partner, who has some innovative approaches to some Internet challenges, raising the potential for GCHQ to make use of this company in the protocol development arena,” the report said.

There was similar analysis of the intelligence agencies in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, with Spain's CNI praised for its ties with an unnamed British telecommunications firm and Sweden's FRA congratulated over a law passed in 2008 that widened surveillance powers.

Asked about the Guardian's report, Sweden's National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) said it was natural that it had contacts with similar organizations in other countries.

FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin said cooperation with foreign intelligence services could include exchanges of intelligence reports. He declined to comment on specific countries but said all activities were strictly controlled by Swedish law.

“There is a clear legal framework which determines how we cooperate with other countries,” he said.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Allen Bunch
November 03, 2013 2:00 AM
You really need to get out of the house more often if you actually believe anything on the internet or air waves can be private.

Come on home Eddie boy. America will be glad to give you a place to stay until the day you die.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid