Barack Obama defends secret surveillance reports, assuring citizens phone calls are private. But the Information Commissioner’s Office says there are “real issues” about US agencies accessing UK data.
In his first comments since the government’s surveillance programmes were made public, President Obama insisted that they were conducted with broad safeguards to protect against abuse.
“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this programme is about,” said the president.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the National Security Agency and FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading US internet companies. Meanwhile the Guardian reported that the US government is collecting telephone records of millions of Americans as part of counterterrorism efforts.
On Friday, it also emerged that at least one European intelligence agency is using the US Prism service too: the Guardian reported that GCHQ has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.
Mr Obama insisted that the surveillance programs struck the right balance between keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack and protecting their privacy.
But the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that that there were “real issues” with the revelations. A spokesperson told Channel 4 News that there appeared to be aspects of US law that conflicts with UK law and that the ICO had raised concerns with the EU commission, which is in discussions with the US government.
US vs UK law
In a statement, the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) told Channel 4 News: “There are real issues about the extent to which US law enforcement agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens.
“Aspects of US law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to US agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own data protection act.”
Continue reading… Obama defends US spying on internet and phone data – Channel 4 News.
To be updated