EU watchdogs concerned at US spying

Europe’s data protection agencies are demanding details on the US spying in the continent, warning that Washingtonâ„¢s so-called PRISM spying program may have breached privacy laws.

The G29, an umbrella organization that includes privacy watchdogs across Europe, said Monday that it wrote a letter to the European Unionâ„¢s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding last week in this regard.

The group called for “specifics regarding the exact nature of the data collected” by PRISM, and details on how US spy agencies access European citizensâ„¢ data.

The G29 said it needs the information in order to “evaluate in an independent manner the potential violations of European law and data protections, as well as the consequences of PRISM for the protection of European citizens’ private lives and data.”

It also plans to investigate whether similar spying programs are being run by European countries.

Germany’s independent privacy watchdogs said the spying programs breach an EU-US pact meant to ensure cross-border data protection.

The measures follow revelations made by a former contractor to CIA and US National Security Agency (NSA) revelations about the secret details of Washingtonâ„¢s electronic spying programs.

The NSA reportedly forces major Internet firms, such as Google and Facebook, to hand over contents of communications in emails, video chats and more.

US President Barack Obama has defended the spy programs as a “modest encroachment” on privacy necessary to keep Americans safe.

But the European watchdogs said the “collection of and access by the American intelligence community to data on non-US persons are of great concern to the international data protection community,” raising questions about the consequences of such spying programs.

MRS/AS

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Republished from: Press TV