Joint EU-US expert group to probe alleged US spying on EU officials

London, July 4 (ANI): A joint EU-US expert group is reportedly going to investigate the alleged US spying on EU officials after the revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding calling the revelations a 'wake up call' for the European authorities to reform their data protection policies said that the expert group will begin assessing the 'proportionality' of the US spy ops from the next month, BBC reports.

According to the report, Snowden who revealed the US 'snoop-op' had claimed that US had spied on EU officials, tracking their phone conversations and email exchanges under the 'Prism' programme.

Reding has said that there will not be any EU-US trade deal without mutual trust and has reportedly asked the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to clarify the scope and proportionality of the UK 'Tempora' programme which is a vast surveillance operation allegedly run by the UK spy agency GCHQ in coordination with US' NSA.

She further said that a balance needs to be struck between the policy objective pursued and the impact on fundamental rights especially the right to privacy which is a fundamental right and is not negotiable.

Several MEPs voiced concern at the European Parliament Debate following the revelations by Snowden about US' snooping programme.

Manfred Weber, a German MEP said that US actions were not acceptable and the trust has been shaken as spying is not done on friends, while Sophia in 't Veld, a Dutch MEP said that citizens need to be guaranteed that they are covered by European laws and not US laws.

Sophia called for US President Barack Obama to give an explanation directly to the European Parliament, representing the EU's 500 million citizens about surveillance on EU citizens on the pretext of 'national security', the report added. (ANI)


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