US law threatens non-US citizens' privacy rights

By EDRi · August 29, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act proposed by the US Administration
was passed by the US Congress on 4 August 2007 allowing US intelligence
services to intercept electronic communications between US, but also non-US
citizens, if the communication passes across US-based networks, without
needing a court order.

A written question was addressed to the European Commission and the Council
by MEP Sophie In’t Veld and Graham Watson from ALDE (Liberal group in the
European Parliament) raising concerns on the US act which they consider as a
violation of the privacy and civil rights of EU citizens. The questions
refer to the level of protection of the EU citizens’ personal data that the
European Commission can provide as well as to the relation between EU-US
extradition agreements and the new US act, wondering whether the information
obtained by means of such interceptions can lead to automatic extraditions
without judicial substantiation. Ms. Sophie In’t Veld is also concerned
about the unilateralism of the act that was passed without consulting the
European partners.

The MEPs asked the Commission whether it indented to carry out an
investigation on “what personal data of EU citizens can be accessed or
obtained by third countries, notably the US, and by what legal instruments”,
an investigation that has been requested several times by the European

Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch also commented: “Just because it happens
to pass through the US they claim they can do whatever they want,. Where is
the EU saying..? What’s going on here, we’ve got to protect the rights of
our citizens?”

The US Act has raised opposition even in the US from the Democrats Hillary
Clinton and Barack Obama. According to In ‘t Veld, members of the US
Congress fear that US President Bush will use this act to eavesdrop on US

US Congress rubber-stamps new law authorising spying on foreign nationals’
calls and emails -ALDE release (7.08.2007)

Question addressed by Liberal Democrat MEP, Sophie In’t Veld and Graham
Watson (ALDE) (06.08.2007)

Terror law puts Britons at risk of surveillance by US agents (19.08.2007),,330596568-105744,00.html