The impact of US National Security Agency and other surveillance programs on EU citizens' privacy and media freedom and the lack of democratic oversight of these programs were the key concerns voiced by MEPs and key journalists on Thursday, in the first of a series of hearings on alleged spying by the US and EU countries.
Following last week's revelation that the NSA has, among other things, influenced the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to adopt an encryption standard that has been made by the NSA to include a weakness known only to them, the NYT has disclosed that the standard in question is the NIST Special Publication 800-90.
Following the claims that the NSA has spied on the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) - the organization that provides the homonymous network that enables financial institutions around the world to send and receive information about financial transactions - European politicians are demanding the immediate suspension of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, which allows the US Treasury to access the SWIFT transaction database.
Last week's revelation that the NSA has for years now concentrated on subverting the encryption that protects commerce and banking transactions, sensitive data, e-mails, phone calls, web searchers and so on would have not come as such a shock were it not for the array of questionable methods they used.
Journalists from the NYT and ProPublica have joined efforts and have published the most explosive article to date dealing with revelations about NSA spying efforts.
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