News / USA

US Web Surveillance Allegations Spark Global Privacy Debate

US Web Surveillance Allegations Spark Global Privacy Debatei
X
June 11, 2013 11:16 PM
Governments, campaigners and bloggers around the world have been reacting to allegations that U.S. security agencies secretly collected emails and files directly from the servers of companies like Google and Facebook. The claims were made following leaks from a former contractor at the National Security Agency. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, the British government has been accused of colluding in the alleged surveillance program
Henry Ridgwell
Governments, campaigners and bloggers around the world have been reacting to allegations that U.S. security agencies secretly collected emails and files directly from the servers of companies like Google and Facebook. The claims were made following leaks from a former contractor at the National Security Agency. The British government has been accused of colluding in the alleged surveillance program.

In the British Parliament, Foreign Secretary William Hague denied that Britain's security agencies had skirted national privacy laws by collecting data on British citizens from the U.S. National Security Agency.

"Our agencies practice and uphold U.K. law at all times. Even when dealing with information from outside the United Kingdom," said Hague.

Critics say the allegations of Internet and phone surveillance would violate basic privacy. Emma Carr is deputy director of the British campaign group Big Brother Watch.

"A mass communications data being piled into one place and being fished through just in case somebody's been committing a crime, or retrospectively they can look through it if someone's committed a crime. That's not ok and that's not what democratic societies have been based on," said Carr.

But some Britons VOA spoke to were unconcerned by the surveillance allegations. Nick James is from London.

"I think that we're in the age of big data, and as much data as they can collect is great. If they can predict what might happen out of that data then that's all to the good," said James.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin reacted to the allegations, saying government surveillance should only operate under the law.

But critics argue the Russian government does not allow a free press. Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist, says the allegations could have far-reaching consequences for the web.

"We used to think about the Internet as something global. Now we know that in Russia they already started to use arguments like, 'We need to build national boundaries.' And now, well this provides very good ammunition for these kind of arguments," said Soldatov.

China has long been accused by the West of censoring Internet access. Beijing blogger Michael Anti says the allegations against the United States could benefit China.

"The government will say, we told you, every government did the same thing about Internet control, and all the criticism you once made to us about Internet freedom, basically is very hypocritical," said Anti.

On the streets of the Chinese capital the reaction was mixed. Sarah is a fashion designer.

"It does not matter if I commit any crime or if it is just my personal affairs, in the end it is my business. Everybody should have a bit of space," said Sarah.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will raise the issue when U.S. President Barack Obama visits Berlin following the G8 Summit next week.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid