“Provide clarification on PRISM”, says EU commissioner

The past week I’ve written two articles regarding the US Government; allegations of spying using PRISM, and calls by involved companies for more transparency as a result.

The Director of National Intelligence claims PRISM is solely for data-collection of non-US citizens; naturally, the EU’s commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, wants some clarification.

In a letter to US attorney general Eric Holder; Reding voices her concerns the privacy of European citizens may be being breached, perhaps unlawfully.

Reuters obtained a copy of the letter, which states: "I would request that you provide me with explanations and clarifications on the PRISM program, other US programs involving data collection and search, and laws under which such programs may be authorised."

Within the past few days, the whistleblower behind the leak emerged as Edward Snowden. The (brave) man was a former CIA technician, adding credibility to his information.

In an interview with The Guardian he said: “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

On potentially sacrificing his own freedom, he reasons “because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building.”

Snowden is currently seeking asylum in any country which “believe[s] in free speech and oppose[s] the victimisation of global privacy".

The program reportedly has direct-access to companies including Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Skype, PalTalk, YouTube, and AOL. Through the amount of data these players hold about users combined, almost infinite information can be found about anyone.

Although the thesis behind the program appears for good intent - to prevent threats from outside the US - it appears it has been misused to spy on citizens and other country’s without due course, for which Reding is looking for clarification.

Do you disagree or agree with the necessity for such a surveillance system for public interest? Or is it simply an unlawful breach of privacy?

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