By Glyn Moody However much the US government might hope otherwise, there is still widespread concern in Europe about the activities of the NSA and its Five Eyes friends. Here’s the latest proof of that: a joint motion signed by all political parties in the Austrian parliament, against illegal surveillance (via Netzpolitik). The Parliament’s own summary of what the motion contained reads as follows (original in German):
The recent revelations of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden have now acted as a call to action for the six parliamentary groups. In a resolution introduced jointly, they express their support for tackling seriously the illegal spying by the US foreign intelligence NSA, its British counterpart GCHQ and other foreign intelligence services. In their opinion, the [Austrian] government should exhaust all available diplomatic options, and diligently pursue violations of the Austrian Criminal Code. In addition, the MPs urge taking steps at the European level to promote the technological independence of Europe in the field of information and communication technology.
In the justification for the motion, reference was made to the recently-discovered “cyberbug”, presumably attributable to the NSA. With this new malware, which cannot be detected by anti-virus software, and can even survive wiping the hard disk undamaged, it is possible for encryption to be circumvented, for example. The Members find equally worrying the theft of millions of electronic encryption keys from the Dutch SIM card producer Gemalto.
Although the motion in itself is unlikely to achieve much, it’s a clear indication of continuing anger among European politicians at the activities of the NSA and GCHQ in spying on innocent members of the public, and undermining key elements of telecommunications infrastructure. If nothing else, it’s a timely reminder that there are plenty of unresolved issues here, and that they are likely to have serious ramifications on US-EU relations in the future, not least in areas like Safe Harbor and TAFTA/TTIP.