EU parliamentary inquiry condemns ‘illegal’ NSA, GCHQ ‘snoop-ops’

London, Jan. 10: The European parliament’s first inquiry in the large-scale surveillance operations carried out by the US’ National Security Agency and its UK counterpart has reportedly condemned the alleged programmes in the strongest possible terms as ‘illegal’ and demanded an end to the indiscriminate collection of citizens’ personal data.

The inquiry by the European parliament’s civil liberties committee said that the activities of NSA and the UK’s GCHQ have profoundly shaken the trust between countries that considered themselves allies.

According to The Guardian, whistleblower Edward Snowden, who first exposed the alleged mass surveillance operations, is in Russia under temporary asylum, the MEPs are expected to take evidence from him via video-link, as the EU parliament continues to assess the damage from the disclosures.

The NSA’s Prism programme allowed the US intelligence agency to conduct mass surveillance on EU citizens through the servers of US internet companies, while the Tempora programme collected vast amounts of information from the cables that carry internet traffic in and out of the UK.

The committee’s report said that it was “very doubtful” that the collection of so much information is only guided by the fight against terrorism, and questioned the “legality, necessity and proportionality of the programmes”.

The draft has called on the US and EU authorities to prohibit blanket mass surveillance activities and bulk processing of personal data apart from revising their own laws to bring them into line with international law. (ANI)