NSA Surveillance Coverage from Germany, France, Switzerland, Brazil and Colombia
Like the WikiLeaks story before it, given the fact that the NSA surveillance saga uniquely affects people of every other nation, there is a global reaction that we are working to capture and translate on behalf of the American people and English-speaking world.
So far, from the non-English-language press, we have posted content from Germany’s Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Switzerland’s Suedostschweiz, France’s Le Monde and Midiapart, Brazil’s Folha, and Colombia’s El Espectador. Here is a sampling.
For Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an article headlined Protect Us from Terrorism … and Government Snooping, columnist Carsten Knop considers the most sobering part of the NSA surveillance program to be that a well-functioning democracy is conducting it. Considering that other countries which are far less democratic can be expected to do the same, Knop writes that manufacturers and companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook should begin building such protections into their services and devices as a way to boost business and rebuild trust.
“The individual Internet user is helpless against this development. Therefore, companies that conduct their business using the lure of the Internet should be asked to do something. Data protection must urgently be incorporated into devices and software programs. Privacy must become a selling point. … Democratic states must address a task that needs to be taken far more seriously in the future than it has in the past: In addition to surveillance to protect against terrorism, they must also protect the digital freedom of their citizens so they remain free themselves.”
From Switzerland’s Suedostschweiz in an article headlined, Exposed: Spy Powers that Obama Shouldn’t Use, columnist Thomas J. Spang has a suggestion for President Obama, now that we know how The Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are being used: stop using them!:
“No scandal investigation committee is required where none exists. However, it is urgently necessary to change these scandalous laws which so cheerfully hand civil rights and freedom to the executioner’s block of secrecy. A blank check for eavesdropping on millions of innocent citizens goes far beyond what is necessary for the targeted monitoring of suspicious communications.”
Then for France’s Le Monde, in an article headlined NSA Surveillance Storm Gathers Over Cloud Market, columnist Guenael Pepin writes that by giving the NSA access to the Cloud-based user data of European citizens, Internet giants like Microsoft appear to have broken European rules governing their operations on the continent, thus undermining their credibility, the legal basis for their operations, and the confidence of people around the world in the security of putting sensitive data in the Cloud:
“News of the NSA surveillance comes at the worst possible moment for these companies, for which the level of trust regarding private data has been diminished. Google and Microsoft, in particular, are increasingly targeting the business market in their transitions to the Cloud. … The secret “‘PRISM’ program could be construed as a violation of the principles of Europe’s Safe Harbor Scheme, which protects the data security of Europeans, as the European Commission was not notified.”
So now that the whole world knows that no one’s data is safe from the NSA – what’s next? For France’s Mediapart, in an article headlined The NSA is Spying on Us! What a Surprise!, tech columnist Jean-Paul Baquiast thinks he knows. According to him, the beauty of what is to come is that snooping and squelching evil-doers will soon be fully automated!:
“As forecast by our friends, the experts in algorithms, all search functions that now navigate automatically within these programs will from this point on self-activate. People, whoever they are, you and me perhaps, who are in no way terrorists, will be reported with the utmost discretion to other programs responsible for anonymous eradication. A drone, or ‘special forces’ mercenaries, will take care of any necessary eliminations, and neighbors will blame the disappearances on sudden bouts of depression.”
Then from Brazil’s Folha, reporter Isabel Fleck filed this article headlined Being ‘Carioca’ Helped Glenn Greenwald Break NSA Surveillance Story. Greenwald, who lives in Rio with his partner, tells Folha that he believes his presence in Brazil has facilitated his work investigating the U.S. government:
“People [sources] think they are more protected because of the distance, and I’m less vulnerable to being targeted by political retaliation or lawsuits because I live in Brazil. That gives me additional protection. … Not being in New York and Washington – and not being socially connected to the people who cover politics, allows me to be more independent.”
Then … whatever laudable purposes NSA surveillance technology may be put to, is it just as likely to be used for less desirable ones? For Colombia’s El Espectador in an article headlined Please Consider Yourself Watched!, columnist Hector Abad Faciolince ponders the possibilities, and asks who is watching the watchers while they watch all of us:
“The interesting thing is that now, it seems, the spy activities that emerged to protect against an outside attack are being turned against the citizens themselves. … Private Manning, who leaked the video on which we could see U.S. soldiers killing a journalist in Iraq, is faring much worse than the soldier who killed that journalist. Apparently, we can all be watched, save those who are watching. The problem is, who is watching those who watch?”
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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice