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[liberationtech] Secret European deals to hand over private data to America

Jurre andmore drwhax at
Sat Jun 29 13:42:38 PDT 2013

There was a hearing last week in Dutch parliament about PRISM. There
was another interesting point being discussed a rumor that the TAT-14
cable in Katwijk was being eavesdropped. Not only is it eavesdropped,
but data is shared with the US!

Article below:

Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America

Germany 'among countries offering intelligence' according to new
claims by former US defence analyst

At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been
colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal
communications data, according to a former contractor to America's
National Security Agency, who said the public should not be "kept in
the dark".

Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for theNSA
in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions
within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany,
Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.

Madsen said the countries had "formal second and third party status"
under signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compels them to
hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the
NSA if requested.

Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified
documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust
level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have
third party relationships.

In an interview published last night on the blog,
Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on
espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming
concerned about the "half story" told by EU politicians regarding the
extent of the NSA's activities in Europe.

He said that under the agreements, which were drawn up after the
second world war, the "NSA gets the lion's share" of the Sigint
"take". In return, the third parties to the NSA agreements received
"highly sanitised intelligence".

Madsen said he was alarmed at the "sanctimonious outcry" of political
leaders who were "feigning shock" about the spying operations while
staying silent about their own arrangements with the US, and was
particularly concerned that senior German politicians had accused the
UK of spying when their country had a similar third party deal with
the NSA.

Although the level of co-operation provided by other European
countries to the NSA is not on the same scale as that provided by the
UK, the allegations are potentially embarrassing.

"I can't understand how Angela Merkel can keep a straight face,
demanding assurances from Obama and the UK while Germany has entered
into those exact relationships," Madsen said.

The Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Ludford, a senior member of the
European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs
committee, said Madsen's allegations confirmed that the entire system
for monitoring data interception was a mess, because the EU was unable
to intervene in intelligence matters that remained the exclusive
concern of national governments.

"The intelligence agencies are exploiting these contradictions and no
one is really holding them to account," Ludford said. "It's terribly
undermining to liberal democracy."

Madsen's disclosures have prompted calls for European governments to
come clean on their arrangements with the NSA. "There needs to be
transparency as to whether or not it is legal for the US or any other
security service to interrogate private material," said John Cooper
QC, a leading international human rights lawyer. "The problem here is
that none of these arrangements has been debated in any democratic
arena. I agree with William Hague that sometimes things have to be
done in secret, but you don't break the law in secret."

Madsen said all seven European countries and the US have access to the
Tat 14 fibre-optic cable network running between Denmark and Germany,
the Netherlands, France, the UK and the US, allowing them to intercept
vast amounts of data, including phone calls, emails and records of
users' access to websites.

He said the public needed to be made aware of the full scale of the
communication-sharing arrangements between European countries and the
US, which pre-date the internet and became of strategic importance
during the cold war.

The covert relationship between the countries was first outlined in a
2001 report by the European parliament, but their explicit connection
with the NSA was not publicised until Madsen decided to speak out last

The European parliament's report followed revelations that the NSA was
conducting a global intelligence-gathering operation, known as
Echelon, which appears to have established the framework for European
member states to collaborate with the US.

"A lot of this information isn't secret, nor is it new," Madsen said.
"It's just that governments have chosen to keep the public in the dark
about it. The days when they could get away with a conspiracy of
silence are over."

This month another former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed to
the Guardian previously undisclosed US programmes to monitor telephone
and internet traffic. The NSA is alleged to have shared some of its
data, gathered using a specialist tool called Prism, with Britain's
GCHQ, although the British government denies any suggestion that it
was obtained illegally. In return, GCHQ has allegedly provided huge
amounts of data to the NSA.

"The European parliament must intervene," said Simon Davies, who runs
the Privacy Surgeon blog. "MEPs should put the interests of citizens
above party politics and create meaningful reforms."

With kind regards,

Jurre van Bergen

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