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Iran Press TV

Snowden submits testimony to EP committee

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 1, 2013 10:59AM GMT

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has submitted testimony to a European Parliament committee, saying mass surveillance of whole populations is one of the greatest challenges facing human rights.

Snowden's remarks were read by former whistleblower Jesseyln Radack on Monday as part of a testimony to the European parliamentary committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs.

The parliamentary committee is holding an inquiry into alleged spying by the United States and European Union countries, which was revealed by Snowden.

Furthermore, Snowden said discussions on the mass spying should not have to rely on the persecution and exile of people willing to leak information.

“If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely on individual sacrifice, we must create better channels for people of conscience to better inform not only trusted agents of government but independent representatives of the public outside of government,” said Snowden.

He also said, “A culture of secrecy has denied our societies the opportunity to determine the appropriate balance between the human right of privacy and governmental interest in investigation.”

In addition, Snowden explained in the statement the reasons for leaking the documents, saying he did so in order to expose the scale of the spying and to begin a debate about change in governments' surveillance programs.

Snowden is currently in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum in August, two months after he leaked documents, showing the US spied on the European Union and monitored up to a half-billion German telephone calls and internet activities each month.

Meanwhile, in another testimony to the committee on the same day Marc Rotenberg, the head of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) warned the European parliamentarians that US spying on Europeans could continue since there is no real debate in the US regarding NSA activities abroad.

Rotenberg advised the EU to suspend ongoing free trade negotiations with the US in order to pressure Washington to take EU data privacy concerns more seriously.

The negotiations on EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) began on June 17. If a deal were made it would create the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement (FTA).


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