Snowden to address European meeting from Russia

Monday, April 07, 2014

NSA whistleblower to speak on 'mass surveillance' at Council of Europe gathering

NSA whistleblower to speak on 'mass surveillance' at Council of Europe gathering

STRASBOURG - U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden is to address European politicians from Moscow by live video-link at a Council of Europe hearing on 'mass surveillance' tomorrow.

Snowden will be speaking on the margins of the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

Other participants at the hearing, organised by PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, include the former head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, Hansjorg Geiger, who has proposed a “codex” to regulate intelligence activities between friendly states, and London-based international law professor Douwe Korff.

“Edward Snowden has triggered a massive public debate on privacy in the internet age,” said Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), who is preparing two separate reports on mass surveillance and on whistleblowers for the Assembly. “Among other things, we hope to ask him what his revelations mean for ordinary users, how they should try to protect their privacy, what kind of restrictions Europe should now impose on state surveillance, whilst remaining effective in the fight against terrorism, and how these might be enforced."

He added: “Furthermore, we would like to know more about how the NSA deals with whistleblowing. I regret that the U.S. administration has not responded to our invitation to present its side of the story.”

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. In a 2010 resolution, adopted following similar hearings, the Assembly called for laws to protect whistleblowers.

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