The 52-page draft report just issued by the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee condemns “in the strongest possible terms” the mass surveillance programs of the U.S.’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Such programs “appear to be illegal,” the report asserts, and have carried out “untargeted, secret and sometimes even illegal mass surveillance programs,” under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” the Guardian reports Jan. 10.
The EP report hasn’t yet been voted on; nor does it carry any legal force or compel further action. However, the committee plans to invite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to testify via video-hookup in the coming weeks, as it continues to assess damage from his disclosures.
The report denounced “unprecedented” and “indiscriminate” mass data gathering by the British and U.S. intelligence agencies and also suggests that programs similar to the NSA’s and GCHQ’s exist, “even if on a more limited scale” in other European countries such as France, Germany, and Sweden. It calls on the U.S., the UK, and all European governments to halt the collection of data gathered “on an unprecedented scale and in an indiscriminate and non-suspicion-based manner.”