LONDON (Reuters) – Spy agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance of Internet and phone traffic comparable to programmes run by their US counterpart denounced by European governments, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported yesterday.
Citing documents leaked by fugitive former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian said methods included tapping into fibre optic cables and working covertly with private telecommunications companies. The Guardian named Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands as countries where intelligence agencies had been developing such methods in cooperation with counterparts including Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ.
The report is potentially embarrassing for governments, especially in Germany and France which have been the most vocal in protesting about US mass surveillance of European communication networks revealed by Snowden since June.
Germany, jointly with Brazil, circulated a draft resolution to a UN General Assembly committee on Friday that called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other gross invasions of privacy.