back to article US: We spied on you Europeans but we can still be chums. Right?

High-ranking Eurocrats are expected to begin crisis talks on digital surveillance with American officials on Monday. Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė, whose country will take up the EU presidency today , said she hoped to piggyback discussions on Edward Snowden and the PRISM system on top of trade talks. The EU and the …

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Facepalm

Re: What is all this c**p about Cloud??

I guess you haven't been listening?

The scenario goes

The NSA can walk into any data centre in the US , say "we have a piece of paper here (which is not a federal warrant) that lets us take all your business records. By the way, our secret court has defined anything on servers run by a business as business records. Oh, and if you tell anyone about any of this you will go to jail and we will ruin your life, so don't try to check on that definition."

When you talk about the PATRIOT act you talk about spying, wholesale, on pretty much all internet traffic.

Oh yeah, I'm sure that's used only to stop terrorism, and not to:

Steal inventions

Protect US financial interests

Blackmail highly (or well) placed people to do what the US wants.

Keep track of the movements of foreign dignitaries

Because the US is such a trustworthy country that would never do anyone any harm.

You also know that those RIPA requests you mentioned where people were abusing it to find out about the school thing? You understand you heard about that, right? It wasn't so secret they had to make a secret court to secretly decide the secret law interpretations that allowed them to do that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is all this c**p about Cloud??

@Justicesays

"It wasn't so secret they had to make a secret court to secretly decide the secret law interpretations that allowed them to do that."

So that crumb they tossed at the public is proof they're not doing wrong/unethical/illegal?!?

What exactly is your point?

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Facepalm

Send your data to the (American) cloud. Your data. Their advantage.

As a business ask yourself is there a US competitor who'd like to know X about my business?

Will that information be in your new (cloud based) system?

How well connected are they to the US govt?

How well connect could they become if it meant getting a complete dump of your system for their perusal?

Still reckon your new cloud based system is cheap?

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I'd doubt these Euro/US discussions will lead to anything

Let's face it, a lot of these European nations are clients of intelligence that the NSA scoops up. These upcoming discussions will in essence mostly be about managing the PR aspect of widespread data surveillance. Can't have those annoying leaks letting the hoi poloi know who is snooping on them, can we?

(I always say that the worst thing about being cynical is the moment you realize that cynicism is the smart play)

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Happy

Blimey!

I never knew so many Emos read tech websites!

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Nerds work for governments too

And I am sure it was a nerd working for a security agency somewhere who came up with the original idea for the cloud.

Agency boss: I wish we had easier access to everybody's data instead of having to wait to intercept it when they send something by email!

Nerd: Why don't we build a huge data centre and rent vast amounts of space cheaply to every one, then we can build our own back door into it from the start.

Agency boss: Great idea! here's a few squillion set it up!

That has always been my view of the cloud, security wise the dumbest idea I have ever heard of.

There is no difference between securing your data and securing your house, if someone really wants to get in they will, it is just a matter of making it as difficult as possible so that it begins to use up too much time to be worth it but nothing 100% secure.

If you want good security keeps things under your hat, it is still possible for people to access but it's a whole lot better than leaving it lying around in somebody else's warehouse where you can't see who is trying to get in.

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Unless of course you're in a position as a cloud provider that in developing such strong links with the spooks, it helps underpin your continuation.? These 'links' between the giants of the web and politically managed secret organisations, forged through data sharing, will make the political elite far less likely to permit or authorise any strategies or actions that might threaten or restrict the relationship or the relationship with the organisation that's cooperating so willingly.

People with power have a very singular priority, keeping it. In that regard the wholesale leaking of information pushes buttons on both sides of that deal.

If you've never had it you don't miss it. But they have had the ability to acquire such vast swathes of data. And you can bet your last penny that they don't want to lose it.

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Unhappy

... and nothing of value was lost.

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Anonymous Coward

hang on a sec

Google can do a bit of wireless sniffing with their mapping cars and the EU privacy commissioner goes apeshit.

But now we find Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook et al send absolutely everything they have over to the US spooks, and the EU privacy commissioner seems to be on holiday or something.

FFS, if you can fine Microsoft hundreds of millions of Euros for forgetting to put some browser selection screen on Windows, then this has got to be worth billions in fines. You may not be able to target the NSA, but you can sure go after the collaborators in this.

This might actually make the US as a whole think twice about co-opting big US companies in on this, and it might make these companies a little more principled in future too.

And if it does, well, at least we can get back some of the billions they didn't pay in tax.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hang on a sec

Well it might make them a little more careful not to get caught in future, anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Only in the US

I see a lot of comments about "Only in the US" but for me they all seem to forget that most national governments can and do spy on their own people.

As far as I know, only in the US is there constitutional protection against spying on your own citizens.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only in the US

> As far as I know, only in the US is there constitutional protection

> against spying on your own citizens.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/03/dotcom_nz_pm_clash_over_spy_laws/ says:

"Like spy agencies in many other countries, the GCSB is prevented by law from spying on locals."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only in the US

When you're above the law, you can do what you like.

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Re: Only in the US

Anonymous Coward of 19:42 GMT, if by “constitutional protection against spying on your own citizens” you mean the US constitution’s fourth amendment, then that protection depends entirely upon how the word unreasonable is defined, and the legislation and case law constructed upon that potentially shifting foundation. Depending upon how one defines spying, article 10 of the German constitution, article 13 of the Swiss constitution, articles 9 and 9A of the Greek constitution, article 23 of the Russian constittion, and even article 79 of the constitution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea might be worth reviewing; there are doubtlessly equivalent articles in other constitutions worldwide.

Article 25 of the Iranian constitution gets a special mention: unlike any of the constitutions mentioned above, it explicitly forbids all forms of covert investigation — “except as provided by law”. If you happen to be in Iran, keep yourself informed on the relevant legislation there.

As ever, a constitution’s protections are only as useful as their enforcement.

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It is frustrating...

It is frustrating. I know (even myself living in the US) if I *EVER* decided to do "cloud" anything, I would pick a cloud service provider that operated entirely outside the United States.

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Unhappy

For those who say that every country spies on their citizens...

In most of European countries, if government spooks spy on citizens without a court order, said spooks -if caught- will end before a judge, and face serious charges. If a minister is responsible for the spying -and fails to find a suitable scapegoat- said minister will have to resign, and even has a chance -albeit small- of serving jail time.

Now compare this with the actual situation in the USA, where they even had the gall to make retroactive laws that allow private companies to spy on citizens at the whim of the Government, without any judiciary oversight. Or with the infamous gag orders that forbid the victims and unwilling participants of this from discussing the matter with anybody else, even with their lawyers.

The potential for abuse -and I'm using the word 'potential' in a very loose sense- is astronomically high.

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It would be a good time

It would be a good time before the talks for Snowden or someone with full access to that information to release it to almost every newspaper in the world. I'm hoping it has blackmail files on leaders and politicians and that is the real reason the NSA/FED are so pissed because it's their leverage and without it they're screwed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It would be a good time

The way the authorities are going, Snowden may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

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opt in or out?

Are the European countries going to try and prevent data mining of their citizens or are they negotiating for access to the NSA Hoover bag?

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"Free trade" is a silly label for it

"Free trade" is a silly label for it.

They're stealing EU business, technological and academic secrets.

They're spending billions to do this so they're almost definitely handing them over to your US-based competitors.

How is that free trade?

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Anonymous Coward

What a bunch of naive fools

Anyone with a clue knows full well that all governments spy on each other to keep the players honest as there are always some double agents in government. If you didn't know this you must be living under a rock.

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Anonymous Coward

People are so dumb

Just because they didn't realize that communications has been monitored for decades and it increased after 9-11, for good reason, now people are outraged that authorities have been doing their best to protect people from more terrorists attacks, which they have done in the UK as well as the US. If you don't want your communication monitored then don't ever use a phone, the internet, snail mail. Just sit in your home and rot away.

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Anonymous Coward

Save time, save taxpayer money

Just CC the NSA whenever emailing.

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