Snowden to Testify via video before EU Parliament

Written by | Friday, January 10th, 2014

A European parliament committee has asked the former contractor of US National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden, who has exposed the US secret surveillance practices, to testify via video link on US snooping and privacy breaches.
The justice and civil liberties committee has voted 36-2 with one abstention to seek testimony of the NSA whistleblower as part of its investigation into how to protect the privacy of European citizens.
No date has, however, been set for the testimony and no one knows whether Snowden, who is currently hiding in Russia, would accept the invitation. Snowden, who has been granted a year’s asylum by Moscow, risks extradition to the United States where he has been charged with espionage and theft.
The EU investigation, launched following the revelations of the US snooping, aims at working out recommendations to better protect the privacy of European citizens and improve IT security in EU institutions.
The revelations made by Snowden have prompted a global debate over the limits of surveillance and privacy rights. These revelations, which embarrassed the Obama administration, showed the N.S.A. had been spying even on its closest allies and tapped the mobile phones of several world leaders. This scandal has caused deep rifts between the US and nations including Brazil and Russia. It has also threatened trade exchanges and security ties between Washington and its closest allies around the world.
Snowden has become a hero among civil liberty advocates in both Europe and the United States. Following the exposure of the US spying, widespread internet and social media monitoring, US President Barack Obama is planning to curtail the NSA actions and overhaul the US surveillance programs. An overhaul that is expected to meet the requirements of national security agencies and concerns of civil liberties advocates.

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