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EU Committee Issues Report On NSA Surveillance; Snowden To Testify 177

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everybody's-doing-it dept.
Qedward writes with word that the EU Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee published the draft of their report on the impact of dragnet surveillance by the NSA on EU citizens (PDF). Quoting CIO: "... Members of the European Parliament say that it is 'very doubtful that data collection of such magnitude is only guided by the fight against terrorism,' and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage. The document urges EU countries to take legal action against the breach of their sovereignty perpetrated through such mass surveillance programs." The same committee voted today to allow Edward Snowden to testify before them in a special hearing.
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EU Committee Issues Report On NSA Surveillance; Snowden To Testify

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  • by zlives (2009072) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:08PM (#45907677)

    nope false alert, not gonna happen.

    • so says (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pablo_max (626328) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:46PM (#45908099)

      So says the man from America. The country who's population literally could not care less that their own government is spying on them as well AND systematically removing their rights and dismantling their constitution.
      But you go on and talk about how stupid and cowardly we in the EU are. After all, we can see how strong your back bone is. After all, it is not we who have the backbones to bomb brown people "into freedom".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cold fjord (826450)

        After all, it is not we who have the backbones to bomb brown people "into freedom".

        As in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria?

        Here is a tip for you. Over the years, Europeans, just like Americans and various Asian nations, have demonstrated their willingness to bomb people of all colors for many reasons, including to make their lands a colony, and lately to free them. It is happening right now.

        Your sense of superiority is based on mistaken ideas, bad history, and bile.

        • by s.petry (762400)

          Is it more likely that the real issue is that there are people in numerous countries that are all playing on the same team? Hint: That team is not your own, and does not care about average citizens.

          Consider what has happened after Germany was found complicit in helping the NSA spy on Germans. Merkel said "don't", and "stop", and both intelligence agencies took that to mean "don't stop". Nobody from either side has been prosecuted for treason, and nobody knows if the practices have changed (no evidence to

      • So says the man from America. The country who's population literally could not care less that their own government is spying on them as well AND systematically removing their rights and dismantling their constitution. But you go on and talk about how stupid and cowardly we in the EU are. After all, we can see how strong your back bone is. After all, it is not we who have the backbones to bomb brown people "into freedom".

        I wish I had mod points. I'd mod this up as far as I could.

        From my perspective, you're absolutely right! What you point out are some of the reasons why a few of us left Amerika to experience real freedoms that can be found overseas. Not the fake freedoms that Amerika loves to blather on about, but not lift a finger to defend when they're taken away.

      • by zlives (2009072)

        Clearly I care, other wise we would not be having this discussion. I merely point out the leashed dog mentality of the EU when it comes to anything US wants. I hope that EU (well minus UK anyway) will do something. And by something i mean other then GCHQ, BND blah blah in competition with NSA as to who can exploit their citizens better... because as everyone already knows : we are #1, USA USA blah blah

      • If you spent 5 whole minutes actually reading Slashdot lately, you'd see that a lot of us DO care about the government spying etc. etc. etc. "Caring" and "getting it fixed" are obviously two entirely different things.

      • by fatphil (181876)
        Oooh, ooh, the UK's gonna grow a spine, after 35 fucking years of Conservative lapdogism (often perpetrated at the hands of those who don't actually call themselves "Conservative", but anyone with any awareness of the political compass (dot org) will attest that New Labour is indistinguishable from Old Conservative)).

        Nahhh, not gonna happen.

        Are you now going to accuse me of being a man from America too?
        (Handy hint - don't do that, you'd be very very wrong.)
        • by Xest (935314)

          Q: Which European ally of American shot down Obama's attempts to launch military action on Syria rather spectacularly in parliament?

          A: Britain.

          Yes we have politicians all too quick to please the US, no we're not universally a US lapdog.

          I'd say that was our spine growing moment quite honestly. Do we have a lot of work to do and a long way to go? sure, but we're working on it.

          It's a battle for sure, but don't mistake the resurgence of atlanticists and euro haters like Liam Fox and UKIP for resurgent pro-Ameri

          • by fatphil (181876)
            Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough response.

            It might be the few good decisions that are made that cast the bad ones in such a harsh light, and I'm paying more attention to the latter rather than the former. I get much of my UK news from the likes of HIGNFY, which are themselves far from unbiased. Bad news travels both further and faster.
    • by hazeii (5702)

      Haven't read the report, have we?

      • by zlives (2009072)

        Actually i was questioning the follow through, heck even B.O's panel told him to curb the NSA

  • I'm no expert in EU politics, but I know they meets in Brussels (Belgium), Luxembourg and Strasbourg (France), per Wikipedia. I also know, despite being a dumb amerikkkan, that none of those places are in Russia. Snowden will absolutely be captured if he appears in any of these places and would be a great fool to testify there.

    • Re:Where? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:13PM (#45907737) Homepage

      Snowden will absolutely be captured if he appears in any of these places and would be a great fool to testify there.

      Or, if they're going to have him testify, they have diplomats collect him and bring him in on a plain covered by immunity, move him around in diplomatic cars, and house him in diplomatic residences.

      Do you *really* think that it is impossible to basically "fuck you" and bring him there safely if there's the political will?

      • by snarfies (115214)

        Yes, in fact, I do. Political will tends to fade pretty quickly on the wrong end of a gun barrel.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Yes, in fact, I do. Political will tends to fade pretty quickly on the wrong end of a gun barrel.

          If America is going to choose to 'point a gun' at the entire EU, then you can pretty much expect the entire EU to kick the US out of military bases, and generally GTFO of town.

          The EU also has their own guns.

          • Re:Where? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @02:14PM (#45908567)

            It's worse than that. The EU is where the US gets its guns from, because the US is too incompetent to make its own guns any more. Most police departments use Glocks, which come from Austria, and the US military is going to use an H-K rifle from Germany for their next-generation assault rifle. The US military already uses the Beretta M-9 for its standard sidearm: Beretta is an Italian company. All the best guns come from the EU (or Switzerland, which is surrounded by the EU): FAL in Belgium with their P90 submachine gun and F2000 rifle (standard rifle used by many countries' armies including Pakistan), H-K in Germany with their MP5 submachine gun used by lots of militaries and police departments including probably every US SWAT team, Glock in Austria, SIG in Switzerland, HS in Croatia, Steyr in Britain, I'm sure there's lots more. The US gunmakers mostly only make historical replicas (e.g. Colt 45s from the 1800s) and copies of aging and obsolete guns like the 1911 and the AR-15. When they want something new and innovative, they import it from Europe and rebadge it (like the Springfield XD series, made by HS in Croatia).

            • by TWiTfan (2887093)

              aging and obsolete guns like the 1911 and the AR-15.

              Whoa there! While I generally agree with much of the rest your post, them's fighting words! The M4 is still one of the most versatile and proven families of military rifles currently in use. It's come a long way since the old Vietnam-era M16's/AR-15's.

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                It's still cursed with the direct-impingement system of operation (except for the variants that replaced that with a gas piston, but those are not common or normal, and are usually high-priced), which makes it extremely vulnerable to malfunctions if it isn't kept meticulously clean. That's not a good trait for a battle rifle.

                The H&K G36, SIG 550, FN F2000, Steyr and others are all far superior weapons.

                • The unreliability of AR direct impingement is greatly overstated. This is not to say that it's not a factor, but it's not the first rifle to be built around that concept, but the only one to have acquired a negative reputation. In truth, most AR failures have to do with magazines by a long margin - run something decent (like a PMAG or Lancer or even 20-round USGI) and you'll see most of the difference between AR and HK416 disappear already. For example, the infamous dust storm test where M4 shows 4x failure

            • by Bucc5062 (856482)

              Oh the irony...oh the humor in your post. 2nd Amenders getting all robust about how in America (my country) wez gotz the rights to carry gunz and shoot em (at furners if need be), but we don't make the guns?

              Is it the EU plan to keep sending guns over to us in the hope we all just shoot each other then later on they can "help" us rebuild.

              Haven't figure out if your post makes me laugh, cry, or just feel that the world is just a little fucked up.

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Don't misinterpret my post: America *does* make guns, and lots of them. There's still lots of gun makers in America: Mossberg, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, Springfield (except for their imported XD line), Kimber, and dozens if not hundreds more smaller companies. I'm just pointing out how many of the better weapons, including many used by police forces and the military, come from Europe, not gun-happy America.

                A lot of America's gunmakers (including most of those unnamed smaller companies, a

            • by Ignatius (6850)

              just for the record: the Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG is an Austrian company with a 150-year history based in the city of Steyr in Upper Austria.

              The 5.56mm Steyr AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr) has been designed for and adoped by the Austrian Austrian Army as the standard infantry rifle (StG77 - Sturmgewehr 77). In the US, you probably know the weapon from movies - it's the weapon of choice for bad guy Euro snobs and it occasionally can even be seen in SF movies due to its futuristic design.

              ignatius

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Sorry, you're correct. I was thinking of some other bullpup rifle, whose name escapes me now, which is used by much of Britain's military. I think the Steyr is actually used in Australia, as well as Austria of course. (A quick look at the Wikipedia page for the AUG confirms it's used in Australia plus lots of other places.)

                While looking at the Wiki page, I noticed another thing I'll use to bash the AR-15 so loved by Americans: it's not ambidextrous. The Steyr AUG is, as well as FAL's rifles, and probabl

                • by Ignatius (6850)

                  And interesting detail ist that Steyr was also supposed to get the contract for the new Autrian Army Pistol, however - after extensive tests and much to everybodys surprise - the contract finally got to a new contender with no prior experience in the design of handguns: Gaston Glock, who developed a new pistol from ground up: the Glock 17. It was the first handgun from Glock and became the P80 (which is the military designation) - the rest is history.

                  ignatius

                • by Xest (935314)

                  The British rifle you're thinking of is the SA80, otherwise designated as the L85 with a long barrelled LSW version the L86.

                  Unfortunately the SA80 isn't ambidextrous either and it had a lot of earlier problems jamming in sandy environments (as discovered in the first gulf war).

                  Nowadays it's a pretty nice weapon, but it's only got about another 10 years of service left in it currently anyway.

              • In US, we know Steyr AUG (in its civilian incarnation [steyrarms.com]) as one of those things on the wall in your local gun shop that you really want to buy because it looks so nice (and you've heard good things about it), but cannot justify the $1.7k price sticker.

                I do hope the prices drop down now that they've got some solid competition on form of Tavor, though.

            • It's worse than that. The EU is where the US gets its guns from, because the US is too incompetent to make its own guns any more. Most police departments use Glocks, which come from Austria, and the US military is going to use an H-K rifle from Germany for their next-generation assault rifle. The US military already uses the Beretta M-9 for its standard sidearm: Beretta is an Italian company.

              At least as far as all the military contracts go, the requirement is that the winner manufactures them in the USA. So M9, M249, M27 IAR, M4A1 etc are all made in US, even though the plants are owned by Beretta, FN etc.

              For law enforcement and civilian firearms this is not always the case, but a lot of European companies still end up manufacturing those things in US. It's the biggest market, and it's cheaper to make it right here where they sell most of them than to export/import them across the Atlantic. FN

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                At least as far as all the military contracts go, the requirement is that the winner manufactures them in the USA. So M9, M249, M27 IAR, M4A1 etc are all made in US, even though the plants are owned by Beretta, FN etc.

                Yes of course; the Chinese do something very similar, forcing companies to progressively move all production and know-how to China until they no longer need the vendor company at all. The US obviously doesn't quite go that far, since they never design their own guns or shed the foreign vendor

              • by Ignatius (6850)

                At least as far as all the military contracts go, the requirement is that the winner manufactures them in the USA. So M9, M249, M27 IAR, M4A1 etc are all made in US, even though the plants are owned by Beretta, FN etc.

                For law enforcement and civilian firearms this is not always the case,

                Exactly. Which is why, btw. the Glock Pistols are used by the US-Police but not by the Army (afaik), as Gaston Glock flat out refused to have his guns produced under licence.

                ignatius

          • by flatrock (79357)

            It is highly unlikely that the EU will kick out the US military. Having the US military there strengthens their own defenses, but that's not the main reason. The main reason is economic. Having a US base there dumps a huge amount of money into the local economy. Kicking out the US military would be economically devastating the the areas surrounding the bases.

            The EU and US are allies and competitors at the same time. EU government agencies rarely pass up a chance to tweak the US government. People on b

      • Re:Where? (Score:4, Informative)

        by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:38PM (#45908013) Homepage

        Or, if they're going to have him testify, they have diplomats collect him and bring him in on a plain covered by immunity, move him around in diplomatic cars, and house him in diplomatic residences.

        The last time they thought that he was on a plane protected by diplomatic immunity, they grounded it and searched it [nbcnews.com] at the request of the United States. That's also why Julian Assange is still stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London: The UK authorities have made it clear that they will pull him out of a diplomatic vehicle if they try to transport him to Ecuador.

        • Aside from the fact that he'll be testifying remotely, the plane that they grounded that time was headed to somewhere in Latin America (Cuba or Ecuador I think). Do you really think the US would be allowed ground and search a plane anywhere in Europe that's chartered in and bound for an EU country?
          • Re:Where? (Score:5, Informative)

            by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @03:30PM (#45909693) Homepage

            the plane that they grounded that time was headed to somewhere in Latin America (Cuba or Ecuador I think).

            That would be Bolivia. Which, since it was Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane, is about as serious a diplomatic violation as you can get (imagine Russia or China grounding Air Force One and searching it).

      • by DeVilla (4563)
        Snowden's leaks also revealed information about EU member states. It's already clear the UK is not happy about that.
    • Re:Where? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Grantbridge (1377621) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:15PM (#45907763)
      RTFA: The former US National Security Agency worker would testify by interactive video link from Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.
      • by trifish (826353)

        RTFA: The former US National Security Agency worker would testify by interactive video link from Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

        Heh. Would be funny if the packets were routed via the US and patriotically "deep-inspected" by the NSA.

    • by PoisOnouS (710605)
      They don't have telephones or Skype in Russia?
    • by hbo (62590) *

      Read TFA.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      I also know, despite being a dumb amerikkkan, that none of those places are in Russia. Snowden will absolutely be captured if he appears in any of these places and would be a great fool to testify there.

      I dunno, he might just use the phone, or a videoconference tool over the internet (not like he's discussing state secrets (well, not anymore really)). You might not be that dumb of an "amerikkkan", but you're not the most practical person in the US of A either. I'd urge you to become more practical before turning into an enemy of the state, should the thought ever cross your (or your governments) mind.

      The former US National Security Agency worker would testify by interactive video link from Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

      Right there in the article even.

      Anyway, we'll see what happens. The article mentions that people are divide

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:15PM (#45907771)
    What if Snowden was a former employee/contractor for GCHQ, and he leaked documents illuminating GCHQ spying on the US, Russia, and other non European nations? Would the EU still allow him to testify, or would they be calling for him to return to face their courts?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think you're recent on UK-EU relations; they're fairly complicated and not going all too well lately.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        The UK seems like they're the EU's red-headed stepchild these days.

        • by fatphil (181876)
          Has been as long as I've been aware of politics.

          OK, I don't remember much about Callaghan's era, but remember everyone since then.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      GCHQ is essentially a branch of the NSA. The UK government is just as upset.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:17PM (#45907799) Homepage

    Members of the European Parliament say that it is 'very doubtful that data collection of such magnitude is only guided by the fight against terrorism,' and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage.

    Of course they do, because part of the mandate is to look out for US commercial interests in general.

    The problem is they use the same program to spy for the terrorists, as they do for the economic and political espionage.

    Which means, unless the US is willing to carve out JUST the security stuff (which, they won't), every other country more or less has to block this program on the premise that it's just a widespread "spy on everybody, some of them might be security risks, some of it might be political intel, and some can be given to the corporations".

    That's kind of the problem from the perspective of the rest of the world -- any form of cooperation with this spying has far broader ramifications than just national security.

    Hell, people here routinely defend it, but increasingly you might see other world governments saying they won't allow you to do it any more (in which case, it will be done anyway, just in a more clandestine manner).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The ultimate goal with government spying -- besides securing a multi-billion dollar cash flow that can be leveraged for personal gain -- is merely to build a warchest of options for prosecution, should government need to prosecute a citizen in the future. And by "need to prosecute", I mean need to silence, emprison, or murder. Now that there are enough crimes to make every citizen a criminal, this is entirely possible. Ayn Rand had it exactly right: the reason why the law is so absurdly complex is to ensure

  • by koan (80826)

    It's a trap!!!

  • If he goes anywhere in Europe, even with the host country's approval and protection, I wouldn't be surprised if he were snatched in a CIA black op.
    • You think they can't get him in Russia? They are terrified of the "Security" file he has. I suspect a lot more damaging stuff would get released if he suddenly disappeared.

  • by MouseR (3264) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @01:44PM (#45908067) Homepage

    There was a story a few years ago that showed Boeing was successful in derailing an Airbus deal by using espionage and hacking to gather intelligence on the Airbus proposal, allowing Boeing to cut-in the proposition with their own submissions, finally realizing the deal at the expense of Airbus.

  • by hazeii (5702) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @02:16PM (#45908609) Homepage

    A quick synopsis (so may contain stuff to quibble over) but the meat appears to be the action list (read the original document - link in article - for the rest):

    Action 1: Adopt the data protection package [europa.eu]

    Action 2: Set up an overall agreement ensuring 'proper redress mechanisms' for EU citizens where data is passed to the US for law enforcement purposes.

    Action 3: Suspend 'safe harbour' (covering personal data) until the US comply with 'EU highest standards'

    Action 4: Suspend the 'TFTP' (Terrorist Finance Tracking Package) until a) Action 2 complete b) the EU have looked into it

    Action 5: Worth quoting in full: "Protect the rule of law and the fundamental rights of EU citizens, with a particular focus on threads to the freedom of the press and professional confidentiality (including lawyer-client relationships) as well as enhanced protection for whistleblowers".

    Action 6: Develop a european strategy for IT independence (that'll send cold shivers down the spine of certain US companies).

    Action 7: Develop the EU as a reference player for a democratic and neutral governance of the internet (my translation: currently it's a US party, we want in on that).

    • by HiThere (15173)

      7 Develop the EU as a reference player for a democratic and neutral governance of the internet

      That sounds pretty simple. Just start up some new root servers with new high-level domains, say:
      biz. fct, grp instead of com, edu, org
      REPLACE ICANN!
      Adopt the current standards without change for those domains, and then start tinkering. (Tinker while you only have a very few web pages.) Decide whether you want to be exclusively IPv6. Swtich to utf-8 identifiers, with some way to indicate whether or not the char

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      How can the EU undo its telco system? Capitalism has already looped the new national calls and data to select areas in nations making US/UK+ data collection trivial.
      Where capitalism was not an option, post WW2 reconstruction or NATO military considerations, the ability to wiretap would have shaped new telco infrastructure over decades.
      Generations of senior staff, engineers, political leaders, academics must have understood how and why their regional/national telco system was been rebuilt or upgraded in
  • ...and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage

    Jeez... Ya think? I'll spare us the rant about how much of that has already occurred and jump right to how ashamed I am that my country has embraced such activity on such a scale. I mean, I get that, in business "it's just business" is a tacit rationalization for doing anything that you can get away with to enhance the bottom line, but for my government, who is supposed to at least carry on the illusion that it represents my interests, to give that same excuse is just, well, shameful.

  • by BringsApples (3418089) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @04:06PM (#45910181)

    The document urges EU countries to take legal action against the breach of their sovereignty perpetrated through such mass surveillance programs.

    What in the hell are they going to do? Tell the world-police on the... well, world-police?

    I've been called troll for saying it in the past, but I'll try again here... If anything has come of "the Snowden release", it's only to inspire more hatred for the American government. This will always be taken out on the American people in the end. Assuming that 9/11 wasn't an inside job, and assuming that 9/11 was done by the people that were "charged" with doing so, could their reason have been hatred for "The People" of America, or "The Government" of America? And if that's the case, can we expect more of that same shit? Will it ever stop? Should American forever live in fear, based on the bullshit steps taken by it's "protective" government to stop such actions? It's so silly there aren't words to describe it without seeming like a troll.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      You can't distinguish between the government and the people when dealing with international policy. You elected them, it's your responsibility to depose them if they don't represent you any more. Otherwise it must be assumed that you consent to what they ate doing, even if you don't agree with it, because you consent to be ruled and don't mass protest it.

      • Yes, sadly you're correct. And the main point that you make is that Americans should protest this. As far as I'm concerned, a proper protest would have to consist of everyone going back to growing their own food, and stop buying all of the ridiculous devices that are really only serving to misdirect the people's attention to some virtual world where things are groovy. Simply standing behind the line in your tent while the police are just itching for you to break a rule so that they can kick your ass, is
    • Look man, 11 September 2001 was performed directly as a response to Bill Clinton's cruise missile attack of training camps in Afghanistan in 1998. Bin Laden's response to those attacks (paraphrased) was, "We can not afford 5 million dollar cruise missiles but we can use your airplanes as cruise missiles and attack you like you have attacked us."

      Drop the conspiracy shit. There are plenty of conspiracies, such as the conspiracy to hide the fact that Bin Laden ever made such a direct reference to what he was g

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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