Calls to investigate US Spy Network
Nathan Jackson <Nathan.Jackson@uce.ac.uk>
Thu, 30 Mar 2000 11:05:58 +0100
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Thought this would be of interest...
Thursday, 30 March, 2000, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
Calls to investigate US spy network
The European Parliament will hear fresh calls on Thursday for an inquiry
into a controversial spy network.
There have been complaints from MEPs that the United States has been using
the Echelon electronic surveillance system to steal commercial secrets from
European governments and companies.
Some Euro MPs led by the Greens are now demanding a special committee of
inquiry into allegations that the United States has been using the Echelon
system to listen in to billions of phone calls, faxes and e-mail messages
for its own economic advantage.
A report last month to the European Parliament last month identified the
Echelon eavesdropping network as a tool for industrial espionage.
There have also been complaints from a number of Euro MPs about Britain's
participation in Echelon.
Following the publication of the report, the European Commission has agreed
to make a statement to parliament before the debate.
The statement is expected to be made by the Information Commissioner Erkki
There is a difference of opinion within the parliament about the possible
legal basis for the proposed committee of inquiry.
Those in favour of it say that spying could be considered under the heading
of data protection or competition - while others believe it is not within
the competence of the parliament to act on security issues.
It is thought the debate on Echelon is likely to continue into the following
session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg next month.
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