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The United States Seized Confidential Mail Records Of European Parliament

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Privacy – Christian Engström

Privacy – Christian Engström

I can’t say I’m surprised – but we’ve got the United States and its security bureaucrats digging through our e-mail in the European Parliament. Mashable reveals that the United States has demanded information from Google about the communications of two Wikileaks activists. One of them is the Icelander Smári McCarthy (pictured).

These events catch our interest here in Brussels, here at the Pirate Party office in the European Parliament. We know Smári, and we have contacted him as a consultant to produce a report on Iceland as an “information paradise” and a conceivable centre for cloud computing (www.islandsofresilience.eu).

A quick check reveals that we have been in touch with Smári (through Erik Josefsson), via his Gmail account, regarding this report during the time period when the United States was wiretapping his mail.

Now, this is not about keeping secrets. That’s not the point. (And besides, we would never use Gmail for anything sensitive.) But there’s an important issue of principle here.

The United States is breaking into and digging through mail between the European Parliament and people who have been commissioned to produce its political reports. This is completely unacceptable.

The United States is not supposed to spy on political parties. The United States is not supposed to spy on the Members of the European Parliament. The United States is not supposed to break into and dig through the daily routine work of the European legislative body.

For now, I’m mostly pissed off. Later, I will consider how to handle this issue. I will probably raise these events at a formal level with the European Parliament.

[UPDATED: The initial headline of this article was "The United States wiretapped mail of the European Parliament". It was changed after criticism of being misleading.]

Originally published in Swedish.

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About The Author: Christian Engström

Christian Engström is a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Pirate Party. He has previously been an activist in FFII in the fight against software patents, and has a background as an entrepreneur and a coder.

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36

  1. 1
    Caleb Lanik

    Keep us updated on where you take this story. Don’t let this die, the NSA finally getting caught may be the most important story broken this decade.

  2. 2
    Jackie

    Obama is himself a Criminal. he is listening in to everyone here and elsewhere. he has no morals no sense and wants to cause another war, and violent civil unrest here. he needs to be impeached. He has on more than one occasion over stepped his role and congress lets him.
    Obama has made himself Very clear he does not like being told no, he defaults to executive orders. He attacks opponents with IRS NSA and acts like he has no idea.
    he needs to be Impeached.
    Why do our Representatives not listen to us Anymore? Is it because of their fat paychecks? Medical? Or they have put themselves as Elite. Above the law they are Supposed to uphold.
    Maybe just because they feel they are better than we are, or all of the above.
    either way they also need to be unemployed with Obama who wants to be dictator.

    • 2.1
      Chase

      It is just not Obama it is the whole goverment.

      • 2.1.1
        Jungle Dave

        Damn straight.

        There is no simple solution other than to make all government acts- all- subject to public scrutiny.

        You, my dear Randroid, need to learn something. They’ve built a box, and you’re in it. They’re misdirecting you. By directing your anger towards a figurehead, they’ve pulled off what Hitler did too. They’re ruining the country, and you’re blaming it on somebody who can do nothing.

    • 2.2
      JT

      > He attacks opponents with IRS

      That wasn’t Obama. The decision to investigate was made by a conservative republican IRS agent, and had nothing to do with Obama. Issa made every effort to selectively reveal pieces of the investigation, while withholding the knowledge that it was a republican who was responsible.

      I’m no Obama fan, but if you’re want to criticize, be sure to be honest, because once you throw your integrity out the window by spewing falsehoods, it hurts the rest of what you have to say, which is quite valid.

      We need to deal in facts here. Obama NSA abuse is a fact. Obama IRS abuse is a myth, and you should be very suspicious with how Issa conducted himself, forging ahead with a message he knew was completely false, because his goal wasn’t to change anything, his goal was to make sure his lies ended up propagating over the internet by people who either don’t care enough to fact-check, or aren’t ethical enough to deal in only the truth.

    • 2.3
      no

      Oh stop. It isnt just about Obama, this was started under Bush originally. Its a problem with the government overall.

      • 2.3.1
        gurra

        Yeah. Same in Sweden. Got started by one “side” (left) and when they lost the election the other “side” (right) just continued the same path towards more and more surveillance.

      • 2.3.2
        foonly

        To be perfectly honest, plans to do this were already prepared by the Clinton administration (together with a draft P.A.T.R.I.O.T.-like Ermächtigungsgesetz). It’s just that Clinton didn’t get his 9/11 moment that would allow him to push it…

        You’re spot on the fact that this is no party issue. This is one point where there’s no Rep vs Dem. It’s the establishment vs everybody else.

    • 2.4
      shepherdme

      Representatives no longer need to listen to the people they represent. The American people continue to re-elect representatives who vote against minimizing contributions from lobbyist, and voting for the good of America. This is the American people’s decision. Research your representatives voting record before you vote, and eliminate the corruption. The poor choices of the United States government are a reflection of its citizen’s poor choices.

  3. 3
    steelneck

    The MEPs are also using Windows, so you can assume that anything in those computers are also in the hands of the Empire.

    BTW. I see that you are still using scripts from google that at lest reveals the IP of every visitor to this site.

  4. 4
    exscape

    Do we really need these sensationalist titles? Why not save this one until they’re caught *actually* wiretapping official EU mailservers?

    How are they supposed to figure out that this individual had contact with a MEP prior to actually getting the warrant?
    I’m exactly as much against all this as you are, but titles like these only serve to make the pirate movement look less serious.

  5. 5
    Phil

    Americans are lovely people, and the USA probably would be one of the finest countries in the world, if they could only handle their out-of-control government.

  6. 6
    James

    Make sure you’re very angry in the EU Parliament and speak out loudly. They need to FEEL the chill through their bones when you tell them how the US has been spying on them and reading their private communications. Because it is indeed unacceptable. But they need to do something about it.

  7. 7
    X

    “The United States is not supposed to spy on political parties. The United States is not supposed to spy on the Members of the European Parliament. The United States is not supposed to break into and dig through the daily routine work of the European legislative body.”

    Well, actually, yes they are. Spying on foreigners are what spies and their organizations (CIA, NSA) are *made for*. All countries have spies. What those *outside* the U.S. should take away from the recent news is that they need to keep as much as possible in-house and encrypted, because the US apparently have the means, political willingness and technical know-how to spy on all of it. This, of course, should not be news to any rational thinker.

    The only ones with any reason to actual outrage are US citizens, which have now been informed that they are living in a surveillance state and that the fourth amendment doesn’t apply.

    To those *not* in the US or not US citizens, this should be a complete non-event, affecting nothing. If, that is, they haven’t been sticking their collective heads in the sand and *pretended* that the US doesn’t have spies and doesn’t want to spy on them. In this case, this could be a bit of a wake-up call. But it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) actually *change* anything.

  8. 8

    Why, Europeans should be pleased that the United States government is taking an interest in them, and keeping them out of trouble. ;-)

  9. 9
    Anonymous

    I can’t even imgine what the US reaction would be if theyir politicians were all being wiretaped by China instead. If the same situation applied to them.
    Maybe they would talk about the lack of respect, or how that jeopardizes democracy, or maybe even treat it s an act of war?
    They wouldn’t be happy for sure and they would expect, no, demand there be consequences.
    The US hasn’t even apologized for this.

  10. 10
    Anonymous

    isn’t it about time that people in power actually woke up and smelled the coffee? the USA is turning into a massive state that wants to know what everyone, everywhere is saying doing, even thinking! it wants information from every source imaginable! it wants to blame everybody for everything that happens that the USA doesn’t like! however, as soon as the truth comes out, like a cornered animal, back to the wall, everyone else gets the blame. if the EU cannot see what is going on here, they need to get out of the jobs and put in place those that can. and while you have certain people in powerful positions in the EU, doing whatever they possibly can to aid America and hinder the EU as an entity or as individual parts, they need to be kicked out of office. the USA have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, including the spying/hacking they were accusing China of doing. i bet a dime to a dollar that the activities were equal in both directions, but it’s no good condemning one country for doing when you have been caught doing the same, or worse, yourself. someone in the USA is calling the tune and i doubt if it’s Obama. whoever it is needs to be identified and exposed. what it being achieved at the moment is to make every country distrust every other country!! bad things are gonna happen if we’re not very careful!!

  11. 11

    A lot of this can be avoided by implementing basic security like enabling TLS on your MTA. And companies, run your own IT infrastructure, don’t go into “the cloud” – this opens everything to those as have the power to access it.

  12. 12
    FireIre

    So the NSA, a US Agency whose mission is to spy on foreign powers and people, has been caught spying on foreign powers and people?

  13. 13
    Fitahw

    Anything will be of interest to someone for as long as humans will thrive. ‘Sufficient’ encryption should be mandatory.

  14. [...] EEUU se apropió de E-mails confidenciales del parlamento europeo [EN] [...]

  15. 14
    Anonymous

    (offtopic) Could you, please, NOT use title capitalization on falkvinge.net’s headings? It seems that’s how headlines are done in English speaking countries but it makes them pain to read. Bold style is enough.

    Doubt it’ll change a thing but worth trying.

    • 14.1

      This is how titles are written on English-language news sites. While it may seem unusual, it’s very much a thing of habit.

      Since I want this site to appear as a news reporting and commentary site, I need to look the part.

      Cheers,
      Rick

  16. [...] (dall’inglese sul sito di falkvinge) del post di Christian Engström, parlamentare europeo del Partito Pirata: USA snokar i [...]

  17. [...] how Google had handed over emails of WikiLeaks volunteers to the U.S. government and had apparently wiretapped email accounts of Members of the European Parliament, and have pointed out that NSA surveillance [...]

  18. [...] now disclosures the NSA might might have been after e-mails belonging to  members of the European Parliament — but that doesn’t surprise. [...]

  19. 15
    Jason Ware

    Why isn’t the European Parliament allowing anybody to encrypt their communications? It itself published a document 12 years ago urging Europeans to do it to protect their privacy because of significant concerns about ECHELON and yet hasn’t done anything about it.

  20. […] Vatican and the Pope, France, the leaders of Germany, Brazil and Mexico, the European Union, the European Parliament, the G20 summit, and at least 35 world […]

  21. […] berichtgeving met claims over spionage door Amerika van EU-ambassades en -kantoren heeft John Kerry, de […]

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About The Author

Christian Engström is a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Pirate Party. He has previously been an activist in FFII in the fight against software patents, and has a background as an entrepreneur and a coder.

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