It’s been said here often enough that the only scandal is the fake outrage at the NSA and America. This isn’t to say that the espionage never happened, but the reaction is purposely blown out of proportion to steer public opinion. The NSA has worked hand-in-hand with the German government for decades. German law does not permit the state to spy on its own citizens and therefore has contracted with the NSA to do the Bundesnachrichtendienst’s domestic dirty work. The underlying motive for the fake outrage is that Germany’s Fourth Reich, who now has recaptured Europe and established itself as the regional hegemon, wants the United States out. Therefore, you will see overblown and manufactured scandals such as these.
Just as the United States is taking a first step toward placating European privacy concerns about U.S. surveillance, several European countries are passing laws dramatically expanding their own spy programs.
The House last month passed the Judicial Redress Act, intended to extend some privacy protections to foreign citizens. Meanwhile, the French Senate just passed one of the broadest international surveillance bills in the world and several other European countries are moving in a similar direction.
But instead of reining in their own spy agencies as they would have the U.S. do with the NSA, European countries are doing the opposite.
Privacy activists across the EU see a “race to the bottom” going on. “While the U.S. has been a bad example, EU countries have been adopting similar or worse measures in the past years,” writes Estelle Masse, a policy analyst for digital rights organization Access Now.
Governments in 14 countries around the world have passed new laws giving domestic intelligence agencies increased surveillance powers since June 2014, according to a new study released last week by Freedom House.
“In response to Snowden’s revelation, instead of strengthening safeguards against unlawful surveillance, many European states are weakening privacy protections,” Tomaso Falchetta, a legal officer for Privacy International, wrote in an email to The Intercept. “They have enacted laws that give more powers to intelligence and security agencies to intrude into our lives.”
In France, if the Senate bill becomes law as expected, French intelligence agencies will be able to vacuum up any and all communications sent or received from overseas via underwater Internet cables relating to the “essential interests of foreign policy” or the “essential economic and scientific interest of France.”
While United States foreign intelligence gathering is supposedly specifically directed toward “targets” suspected of involvement in terrorism or transnational crime, the new French law allows for carte blanche spying on any person, group, or region outside France that might be of foreign policy, economic, or scientific interest — with very little oversight, warrants, or judicial review.
And in the U.K., the government on Wednesday will introduce a new investigatory powers bill to give police and intelligence agents more leeway to track people online.
Germany, which last week announced that it would be curtailing its spy agencies’ powers as a result of its work with the NSA, appears to be an outlier.
Full article: Europe, Still Angry at U.S. Spying, Prepares to Increase Its Own (The Intercept)