EU conveys fresh concerns on NSA snooping
Brussels: The EU`s Home Affairs chief Cecilia Malmstroem on Thursday said she has conveyed fresh concerns to Washington over new reports of alleged US snooping and demanded "clear satisfactory answers".
A leaked US intelligence report by Brazil`s TV Globo last weekend cited Google, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, the French foreign ministry, and SWIFT, the global interbank transfer network, as targets of US surveillance.
The European Union and the United States agreed in 2010 a Terrorist Financing Tracking Program (TFTP), which allows access to SWIFT banking data.
Malmstroem said on her Twitter account that she had spoken to US counterparts the previous evening "and conveyed strong concerns about alleged NSA tapping."
"Following up with letter today, requesting consultation under the TFTP (Terrorist Financing Tracking Program) agreement. We need clear, satisfactory answers," she said.
Brussels warned Washington in July after reports of US spying on its allies that it was ready "to reconsider" two key anti-terrorist data-sharing deals failing US assurances of their "full compliance with the law".
The warnings over a hard-won EU-US agreement to share airline passenger data and SWIFT banking details as part of the global fight against terrorism, came amid public outrage over reports that US agencies spied on Europeans as well as on their institutions and embassies.
Malmstroem and her staff nevertheless travelled to Washington in July for the first review of the 2012 Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement, enabling the transfer of EU air passenger data to US authorities that was agreed only after long negotiations.
The two sides at the same time also reviewed the older TFTP.
But the furore almost delayed the start in Washington of anxiously-awaited negotiations on a mega EU-US trade deal described as history`s biggest.
"We are experiencing a delicate moment in our relations with the US," Malmstroem said at the time in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The tensions followed revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA), that the US was systematically seizing vast amounts of Internet and telephone data around the world.
This included covert surveillance by the NSA of EU offices, including diplomatic missions in Washington and at the United Nations in New York, as well as at its Brussels headquarters.
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