Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans: has the privacy of anyone in Wales has been breached?

Good work by Jill, looking after the privacy interests of her constituents who use Apple or Android smartphones and tablets.
MEPs demand answers on US surveillance programme
Plaid MEP Jill Evans has joined colleagues in the European Parliament in demanding answers about the US PRISM surveillance programme.
UK intelligence agency GCHQ has been linked to the PRISM programme which is said to allow United States intelligence services access to private online communications through the world's biggest internet companies. These include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple.
The matter was the subject of an urgent debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
MEPs are demanding that the European Commission raise any breaches of EU data protection provisions directly with US authorities at a bilateral meeting that will take place this Friday.
It is alleged that the US controlled PRISM programme has allowed GCHQ to get around existing legal processes to gain access to personal online communications which could include emails, photos and videos. Germany has particularly strict data privacy laws, yet is reportedly one of the most heavily monitored countries in the surveillance programme. It is reported that the German Justice Minister Sabine has demanded an explanation, and that Chancellor Merkel would raise the issue with President Obama when he makes his state visit to Berlin.
Jill Evans MEP, who represents the whole of Wales in the European Parliament, said:
"These revelations raise fundamental questions about democracy and privacy.
"I share the outrage of many people that US intelligence agencies apparently have easy access to our online personal data. Mass surveillance of citizens is unacceptable. We have to ensure that we adopt the strictest data protection standards in the EU in response to this. We have to have the assurance that our privacy is not being breached. So many of us depend on the convenience of communicating online and we want to continue to do that in the knowledge that the system is not being abused.
"I am writing to the UK Foreign Secretary to ask whether the data of anyone in Wales has been accessed without their knowledge in this way. It would be a very serious matter if in fact GCHQ has been using US intelligence agencies as a way of circumventing UK legislation."

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