EU seeks clarity about PRISM amid rising international concern

By on June 13, 2013, 11:00 AM

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, has assured the American public that PRISM doesn’t collect data on U.S. citizens. Assuming it’s the truth, this may placate some of the concerns in the U.S., but what about members of the international community? Is a foreign government spying on your communications any better?

Initially leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the U.S. government has since confirmed the existence of PRISM, and attempted to clarify the nature of the program.

In a letter acquired by Reuters, Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, has raised serious concerns about the privacy of E.U. citizens in relation to U.S. data collection. The letter, addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, requested that he provide “explanations and clarifications on the Prism program, other U.S. programs involving data collection and search, and laws under which such programs may be authorized.”

Reding introduced proposals to the E.U. in 2012 that sought to make it more difficult for foreign judicial authorities to obtain data about E.U. citizens, reports Reuters. However, concern about straining the relationship between the European Union and the United States during free-trade discussions happening at the time diluted the proposals enough to effectively kill them.

Officials in the E.U. have for years sought information about data collection and how the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment affect E.U. citizens and companies. The controversy over PRISM may finally reveal these data and privacy practices held by the U.S. government.




User Comments: 6

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1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I wonder why this request for information is so public. You'd think if British Intelligence or French Intelligence etc wanted an answer out of the NSA or CIA they'd call them and ask and we'd never find about it. Considering this is the EU's commissioner for justice and fundamental rights (whatever that is) and they're asking publicly it sort of gives them the same level of credibility as your average newspaper doesn't it? Meaning... they care more about the fact that we're watching the conversation than what's actually being said.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

This "transparent" Administration cant keep up with their own lies. Let alone what other countries think that are not so quick to accept them.

dms96960 said:

Why should anyone believe Clapper when he assures the American public that PRISM doesn?t collect data on U.S. citizens? Didn't Clapper lie under oath to the Congress? (the fact that the members of Congress are also liars and hypocrites is irrelevant). Just like the IRS saying that they did not target any groups. Or the State Department covering up its employees (and Ambassador's) use of prostitutes.

This US administration has simply lost all credibility with me.

treetops treetops said:

What surprises me is that people are surprised by this. Everyone mindlessly supported the patriot act in a fear ridden fever. Its all legal.

@Mil

Its to appease their public who feel their government is somehow weaker because USA is spying on everyone.

avoidz avoidz said:

What surprises me is that people are surprised by this. Everyone mindlessly supported the patriot act in a fear ridden fever. Its all legal.

@Mil

Its to appease their public who feel their government is somehow weaker because USA is spying on everyone.

Perhaps in the state of fear, many people didn't realize the implications of what was being suggested. Now the smoke has cleared and the scope of the act is revealed to be even more frightening.

jonelsorel said:

I believe, dear editors, that we have forgotten the meaning of the verb "to assure". How did they ASSURE us they weren't spying, again? By saying "we assure you we didn't" ?!

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