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Edward Snowden Testimony @ Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – 04/08/2014

In Archive, CoE, EU, Five Eyes, GCHQ, NSA, NSA Files, PACE, Snowden, Surveillance on April 9, 2014 at 6:10 PM



US whistleblower Edward Snowden, testifying by video-link to a PACE hearing on “mass surveillance”, has told parliamentarians: “Dragnet mass surveillance is ineffective at preventing terrorism”.

Speaking via Google Hangout from Moscow, Mr Snowden told PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee that such mass surveillance “results in societies that are not only less liberal, but less safe”. He stressed again that his motivation for revealing NSA secrets was to “improve government, not to bring it down”.

Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD) said: “Mr Snowden revealed that there is a dedicated programme that specifically targets human rights organisations. He also made it clear that there is a total lack of judicial and political oversight of the NSA. Lastly he said that the countries that co-operate extensively with the NSA – he mentioned the UK, Germany and the Netherlands in particular – have no binding assurances from the US that the exchanged data is not used for illegal operations.”

Other participants included a former head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service Hansjorg Geiger, who proposed a “codex” to regulate intelligence activities between friendly states. He also hailed whisteblowing as an effective means of enforcing such a code.

“This is the first clear statement from the (former) head of an intelligence service in support of procedures for whistleblowing in secret services,” said Mr Omtzigt.

London-based law professor Douwe Korff also spelled out some legal aspects of mass surveillance activities.


In a January 2014 memorandum, Mr Omtzigt spelled out the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in this area. He also hosted a side-event on “After Snowden: using law and technology to counter snooping”.

On Wednesday, as part of its plenary session, the Assembly is due to debate a report on improving user protection and security in cyberspace, after an earlier hearing on state surveillance of the internet. And in a 2010 resolution, adopted following similar hearings, the Assembly also called for laws to protect whistleblowers.

Related Link: Edward Snowden Testimony to European Parliament Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance

  1. […] Edward Snowden Testimony @ Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), LeakSource […]


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