EU-USA: DATA SURVEILLANCE: EU-USA Working Group report published: Existence of PRISM confirmed by USA and also the blanket powers to place under surveillance non-US people including the "the political activities of individuals or groups

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See: Report on the findings by the EU Co-chairs of the ad hoc EU-US Working Group on Data Protection (released 28.11.13, pdf) among its findings are:

"Under US law, a number of legal bases allow large-scale collection and processing, for foreign intelligence purposes, including counter-terrorism, of personal data that has been transferred to the US or is processed by US companies. The US has confirmed the existence and the main elements of certain aspects of these programmes, under which data collection and processing is done with a basis in US law that lays down specific conditions and safeguards. Other elements remain unclear, including the number of EU citizens affected by these surveillance programmes and the geographical scope of surveillance programmes under Section 702."

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) (as amended by the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1881a) allows the collection of personal data from non-US people.

"Under Section 702, information is obtained "from or with the assistance of an electronic communication service provider". This can encompass different forms of personal information (e.g. emails, photographs, audio and video calls and messages, documents and internet browsing history) and collection methods, including wiretaps and other forms of interception of electronically stored data and data in transmission.

The US confirmed that it is under Section 702 that the National Security Agency (NSA) maintains a database known as PRISM. This allows collection of electronically stored data, including content data, by means of directives addressed to the main US internet service providers and technology companies providing online services, including, according to classified documents disclosed in the press but not confirmed by the US, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Apple, Skype and YouTube.


The US also confirmed that Section 702 provides the legal basis for so-called "upstream collection"; this is understood to be the interception of Internet communications by the NSA as they transit through the US 1 (e.g. through cables, at transmission points).

Section 702 does not require the government to identify particular targets or give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (hereafter 'FISC') Court a rationale for individual targeting. Section 702 states that a specific warrant for each target is not necessary."


"Foreign intelligence could, on the face of the provision, include information concerning the political activities of individuals or groups, or activities of government agencies, where such activity could be of interest to the US for its foreign policy." [emphasis added]

EU commissioner under fire over response to US spy allegations (euobserver, link)

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