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back to article Reding: NSA, friends don't spy on friends. Europe, let's team up for our own SPOOK CLUB

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has re-floated the idea the European nations should team up to create their own intelligence service by 2020, as a counterbalance against overarching US spying. In an interview with Greek daily Naftemporiki on the ongoing controversy about the NSA's dragnet surveillance programme, Reding …

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Black Helicopters

spying envy?

This will end well......

P.

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Mushroom

Re: spying envy?

You do realize that every country in the EU does in fact spy on the other countries as well as other countries outside of the EU...

But then again Reding represents the EU so I'd say his comments are a bit biased.

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Coat

Re: spying envy?

Not so much "spying envy", as ...er... Intelligence Gap... (See end credits to Dr Strangelove...Mineshaft Gap)

Mine's the Trenchcoat and Trilby

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Stop

Oh FFS, really?

"There's too much spying in the world. What we need to fix this is, obviously, MOAR SPYING!!!"

Fuck off, Reding, and take all your power-hungry, empire-building, corrupt politician buddies with you. I don't know about anyone else, but I've had enough of this. Can't we just declare the whole sorry experiment as a failure, and move on to something more sustainable?

GJC

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Re: Oh FFS, really?

Right? It's the same argument the gun nutters (not the regular gun owners) here in the US use. It's also the same argument that saw countries build nuclear arsenals so large they couldn't be used. Maybe the way to stop Islamic terrorism is to get us some Islamic terrorists too!

Talk about backwards leadership. When your only response to the actions of others is to do the same thing they're doing you don't need a special bureaucracy to do that. One person can be assigned to stamp copies of the Snowden papers 'APPROVED' and you can just hire the same contractors your model used and let them run with it, they know what they're doing and you'll save a lot of money without appointed bureaucrats muddling things up.

Hell, you could just fire your politicians and use ours, if all yours are doing is replicating what ours have already done. There's no use in having multiple governments if they're all following the model of one country.

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Happy

Bloody hell, Don...

I think we've got enough problems of our own already, thanks, without taking on your useless numbnuts politicians. Do you hate us that much?

GJC

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Counterbalance?

How is it a counterbalance for the EU to copy a world hated activity exposed in the NSA? Surely counterbalance would be not to spy. To give another possibility, another option, a choice?

If we go the other way we can open up communication while the US intelligence drowns in it. The tighter they hold on to it the more free we should become. And as the iron curtain of surveillance falls apart the EU can then lead the world in its advantage.

Or is that too sensible?

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Anonymous Coward

Self-fulfilling prophecy

The Yanks spy on people thinking people are after them. Now that the EU is pursuing this they are pointing saying, "See, see... We were right...!" And the spying will increase.

The point isn't nation state spying on nation state. The issue is personal privacy no matter where you are and keeping all governments out of your business unless there are definite criminal links to generate a court order to tap your comms.

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FAIL

I agree with Geoff Cambell.

What the real people of Europe (i.e. not politicians or their acolytes) need is an easy way of securely locking their communications so that they will be able to conduct their affairs in peace and without all this creepy, Big Brother nonsense currently in vogue.

I know that asking for easy to use cryptography is easier said than done but surely there are enough bright folk out there who are not tied into the NSA, GCHQ or any of the other so called security services, to be able to sort this out.

Hell, even as a convinced cheap-skate I would be prepared to pay for such a service, it would be worth it on two counts:

1) To keep my private life private

2) To put two fingers up to the Man.

Given the shit-storm blowing through Washington and London right now I'm not surprised that the Americans were so desperate to grab hold of Edward Snowden. If I had been in their position I would have too.

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Roo
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"Hell, even as a convinced cheap-skate I would be prepared to pay for such a service, it would be worth it on two counts:"

The service is the middle man, and as such provides a very handy way for the NSA/GCHQ/etc to apply pressure and intercept communications. IMO the only way privacy on the Internet stands a chance of happening is if individuals can understand and use cryptography without third parties getting in the way.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed, personally I'd like to keep my correspondence private, unless and until my elected state decides that I'm worth investigating - which they then proceed to do in a proportionate manner.

hence where is my encrypted comms using easy to use crypto - where is my storage cloud with PFS?

As for Europe working with the NSA - do you mean the extensions to FVEY known as the second tier-9 eyes and the third tier-14 eyes? I suppose that does only cover around half of the EU/EFTA.

According to a Danish website recently the 9-eyes is FVEY + FR, NO, DK, NL and the 14-eyes add a further GE(DE), SE, ES, BE, IT - I think quite a few other lower tier justice ministries do get to see some of our data-crumbs...

I guess that quite a few internet products have been withheld from release (microsoft unified messaging) for ages until the intercepts could be made to work properly, and some compression/encryption products are cancelled as they might be 'too useful' This is biasing the market - delaying internet entrepreneurship - slowing the rate of change, freezing society at the current status-quo - never to evolve again?

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Big Brother

Europe-wide surveillance?

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!??!

(The EU Directorate of Domestic Vigilance would like to point out that the attached icon in no way indicates what could go wrong. Nope! No sir-rreee!! Now in the interests of pan-European harmony, please go back to watching your cat videos.)

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Roo
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Re: Europe-wide surveillance?

"Now in the interests of pan-European harmony, please go back to watching your cat videos"

That is a fine idea. Spam the internet with videos of cats committing acts of terrorism and conduct our confidential affairs using pens, paper and cash. I don't have much hope of that working though, it only takes one muppet to screw it up. :)

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Headmaster

How could this go wrong?

Very easily. The first time one of the American poodles here in Europe decided that licking Uncle Sam's arse was more important than being "communautaire" *

*Yes HMG, I am looking at you. What was it that the "traitor" said to our hero at the end of Smiley's People? "We've been America's streetwalker for....."

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Joke

'level the playing field'

"level the playing field"

The best way to be sure is to take off and nuke it from orbit. Or is that a bit over the top?

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Trollface

Friends and partners

Friends and partners do not spy on each other.

Yeah we do, that's what facebook is for!

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Anonymous Coward

Me too, me too.

They really need to get over the "lumping everything together makes us better than America" syndrome, it doesn't seem to be very effective.

Different European nations have different concerns when it comes to spying and intelligence, if they were to all get together, it would be harder for them to spy on each other.

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Not at all, it would make it much easier for everyone to spy on them, what with the bureaucratic issues and "mentalité de fonctionnaire" that would inevitably install themselves in such an environment.

That's most likely why Germany is against such an idea. Knowing the dismal security record of absolutely every country in Europe, a single European Intelligence Agency would much more likely become a hive of treason, backstabbing and office politics that would make Yes Minister blush with envy.

And it would make the NSA useless for spying on European stuff - all they'd have to do is request the morning summary from the American department head at EIA HQ. Because yes, I would fully expect the USA to have an official presence at such an agency, to "ensure international cooperation" or some other heartwarming bull.

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Anonymous Coward

10 years later

and 70 bn Euro over the original estimated budget of 0.2 bn - hurray, it's here. Our own agency which can spy not only on its own citizens, but also those of Kazakhstan. With numerous, successful operations, which, unfortunately, due to their highly classified nature, can not be disclosed. Yanks, take notice!

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Black Helicopters

So that's the end game to these Snowden "leaks"

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Anonymous Coward

Not the fix

The fix is to remove the data retention and put the filters back under one-by-one court review.

The court trusted the spooks, that trust was abused, so the filters have to be done with a judicial warrant, one by one. No blanket 'grab everything' warrants. Privacy right is a basic right as is the right to judicial process.

Spying agencies need to be brought back within the democracy, their job is to protect countries from foreign spies not help them do the spying.

We are not terrorists, if you have evidence that we are, then a judge would approve the targetted surveillance. If you let the spooks decide, they call David Miranda a terrorist and use anti-terror laws against journalists. Look at MI5 Parker's comments, this is not someone who can be trusted to defend free speech. This is not someone who would defend freedoms.

I'm surprised he still has a job, if I was PM he'd be sacked quickly, but then I assume he would use that spy data to make sure I never became PM. That is what the end game for spying is, control, influence.

In the UK, politicians like William Hague should never have been allowed to sign warrants to spy on Brits, presumably he knew about spying on Merkel? About Belgacom hacking? Yet he is allowed to sign off on spying on Brits? We're entitled to judicial protection, not a failed tory leader random thoughts.

If they spy on Merkel and Sarkozy, Spain, Greece, Italy, then they're spying on Cameron. If they get Swiss bankers on drink driving charges to gain influence over them, then they work to gain influence over Cameron and Miliband. If that spying results in Cameron making choices the democracy doesn't want him to make, then it's anti-democratic, and if GCHQ helped them spy, then GCHQ are traitors to their country.

Traitors.

The courts have to be put back into the process.

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Re: Not the fix

Libertard. Terrorism moves at 'cyber speed' we simply don't have time for some liberal (or worse, a Muslim) court to review documents and allow technicalities to stand in the way of building bulletproof post-attack analysis. Damnit man. You've had 13+ years to learn how we deal with terrorism. Hell, John Kerry said it just the other day, the only viable response to random events is more randomness! What part of this are you not getting?

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Facepalm

New gravy train!

I can just imagine Reding and her Eurochums salivating at the prospect of another EU trough to stick their snouts in, especially as we all know it won't be the little countries like Luxembourg footing the bill. Meanwhile, the Greek spies will be working out who they can sell the secrets too, the Italian will be wondering if they can use it for more fraud on their tax returns, and the Fwench will simply be thinking about how many Greenpeckers they can blow up. There is an historic reason the UK is far chummier with a country on the far side of the Atlantic rather than any number of Continental countries just over the Channel, and it is because our Eurochums are not good friends.

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Re: New gravy train!

Yep. Anytime a 'sea change' is proposed it is guaranteed to be a clusterfuck that does little beyond create false economies funded by taxpayers. For things like this to work they have to grow into the it, just 'doing it' and expecting regulation to manage it is like giving a bush pilot an A-10 and expecting him to 'figure it out he's gone to college you know'. It's stupid.

Look how great the DHS worked out for us in the US and we've got a semi-functioning government that, mostly, has the same goals in mind. The EU is a mashup of a few strong countries with their historic enemies and some weird love-in based power structure that nobody understands. A huge powerful organization will be an even bigger mess over there.

If I were an IT vendor on that side of the ocean I would already have my guys drafting proposals so all the pols would have to do would is sign. They've probably already got the drafts filed away, but the graphics will need updating you know.

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Windows

History repeats.

The Germans have had a Stasi once. Wonder how they feel about having another?

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Anonymous Coward

Really

You'd be a complete fool and very naive to not think that everyone spies on everyone.

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That was last month's issue.

Get with the program, man ! This is the Internet. We don't waste our time with yesterday's problems - only with today's.

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Spying on the population

The biggest difference between now and ten or even twenty years ago is that now we are all talking openly about being spied on by our governments, and now they have better means with which to do it.

As for Ms Reding what idiots voted for someone who clearly has less of a notion of what democracy is than Attilla the Hun,and why has she any kind of authority at all?

Let's just spy on everybody then we'll all be equal!

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There's already a NSA trojan in the EU

and its name is UK.

"Every time Britain had to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea that we shall choose" - Hard to make it clearer...

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Middle East

Or just do it like the middle east: As soon as a foreign intelligence agent / spook is revealed, he should be executed on the spot. Might act as a deterrent and it also avoids lengthy prisoner exchange negotiations.

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Yeah, but then we have those pesky Human Rights issues that'll crop up.

Then again, all we have to do is pull a Dubya and say that he's a terrist, therefor not human, therefor we can chop his head off.

Somehow, I don't think that'll pass muster.

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FAIL

Re: Pascal Moaner

"....all we have to do is pull a Dubya and say that he's a terrist, therefor not human, therefor we can chop his head off....." I think - if you bothered to try that whole reading thing - you might find it's the terrorists that do the beheading thing for a pasttime. Dubya (and Obambi) are much happier with locking terrorists away for the duration (which is effectively until they die).

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Anonymous Coward

Wtf

And how exactly will that stop paranoid, power-hungry sociopathic fukkers from mass surveillance of ordinary citizens in contravention of basic human rights of dignity and privacy ? Answer, it won't. All it will do is engender an even bigger generation of European Stasi, as if GCHQ and all the national ones aren't bad enough as it is. Fuck off Reading, I had thought you were relatively sensible but now I think you're another complete idiot.

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"What the NSA has done is disgusting, degrading, and has compromised the civil liberties of hundreds of millions of our collective countrymen. How soon can we be doing it too?"

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Anonymous Coward

DANM!!! Spies everywhere....

I really thought Edward did the world a big favor...

hhmmnnn,,, now I'm 1dering...

OUCH!!!!! That hurts...

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Anonymous Coward

Just saying,,,

I wonder if those who code for NSA & GCHQ etc... leave or have a backdoor for their insurance,,,

you know ,, just incase it starts to boil.

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