As some in the United States celebrated the Fourth of July by protesting Prism, the government’s sweeping surveillance program that involves the collection of phone and online communications, there was further fallout in Europe, plus more information about whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Thursday, the European Parliament met and decided to launch an investigation into the U.S. program, as well as other spying allegations. Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, said American businesses such as providers of cloud services could suffer if European customers are worried about their data’s security, according to the Guardian. “If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now,” Kroes said.
Meanwhile, despite a push by France to postpone trade talks between the European Union and the United States because of the spying revelations, the talks are still scheduled to begin Monday, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports.
By the way, France reportedly has a Prism-like program, too. So far, though, it’s unclear whether its scope is as broad as that of the American program. The EP also discussed reports that other European countries such as the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland have similar programs in place, and asked those countries to look into whether those comply with European laws.
As for Snowden, the former government tech contractor who leaked Prism documents to newspapers, the New York Times (subscription required) reports that his resume shows he was trained as an “ethical hacker” who eventually decided to turn his knowledge of how hackers gained access to government systems against the government. “It’s obvious that some sort of arrangement to allow hackers to work for N.S.A. and the intelligence community in a systematic way is needed,” former NSA official John R. Schindler told the Times.
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, warned Thursday that European companies and customers could lose trust in American companies as a result of revelations about U.S. government surveillance. (AFP/Getty Images archives)