BRIEFING NOTE ON MASS SURVEILLANCE AHEAD OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NSA/PRISM INQUIRY: Professor Martin Scheinin, the Coordinator of the FP7-Research Project SURVEILLE, to testify before the inquiry
Caspar Bowden, a former Microsoft privacy official, has written a briefing note for the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) on the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities through PRISM and FISA. The report provides “important background and contextual information on PRISM/FISA/NSA activities and US surveillance programmes, and their specific impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights, including privacy and data protection.” Bowden notes: “Snowden’s revelations highlight numerous breaches of fundamental rights… It is clear that if EU citizens do not have the same level of protections as the US citizens, because of the practices of the US intelligence services and the lack of effective protections, they will become the first victims of these systems. Bowden further notes: “Freedom of thought, opinion, expression and of the press are cardinal values that have to be preserved. Any citizen of the EU has the right to have a private life, i.e. a life which is not fully under the surveillance of any state apparatus. The investigative eyes of any government have to be strongly reminded of distinctions between private and public activities, between what is a crime and what is simply a different life.” This report also provides a set of recommendations in order to improve future EU regulation and to provide effective safeguards for protection for EU citizens’ rights.
Professor Martin Scheinin, the coordinator of the FP7-research project SURVEILLE, will testify before the inquiry on 14 October.
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