EU Parliament Committee Receives Recommendations On Surveillance

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The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs today received an oral summary of the draft recommendations on mass surveillance, after hearing the testimony of former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.

The rapporteur, Claude Moraes (S&D), included recommendations to address European Union information technology security weaknesses and seek the benefits from open source software and encryption technology and EU cloud services.

But Moraes also underlined recommendations to suspend several agreements with the United States, namely the Safe Harbour Agreement (protecting internet intermediaries) and the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (allowing bulk access to banking data).

On the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Moraes said, Parliament recognises the major importance of the bilateral free trade agreement. Yet the Parliament should only consent if there are no references to data protection, according to the draft recommendation, Moraes said.

The data protection regulation currently pending before the member states should be pushed, as should a special EU-US framework agreement on data protection that would finally provide EU citizens with judicial recess.

The draft report will be published Friday.

A planned testimony of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in the European Parliament, meanwhile, was postponed once more.

While the president of the Parliament, Martin Schulz, had given his blessing to remote testimony, the different party groups have no consensus. US Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) yesterday warned the EU legislators not to receive somebody criminal.

The committee today heard Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published Snowden’s documents. Greenwald said the NSA was obsessed if did not allow any private communication without being able to collect the information: ‘collect it all’ was the goal.

Greenwald announced more stories on abuses of the collected data, but also criticised EU governments for turning their back on Snowden’s calls for asylum.

Separately, in the United States this week, a federal district judge questioned the legality of NSA phone records (see article here), and a US panel of presidential advisers who reviewed the NSA surveillance practices recommended President Obama to end the collection of all Americans’ phone calls (see article here).

Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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