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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid