Companies told to encrypt against US ‘spies’

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details Vol.7, No.20, 17.5.01, p6
Publication Date 17/05/2001
Content Type

Date: 17/05/01

By John Shelley

MEPs returned from Washington this week with no cast-iron proof that American agencies are stealing information from their transatlantic competitors by homing in on telephone, fax and email messages.

But Gerhard Schmid, the MEP drafting the European Parliament's opinion on the Echelon spy network, is recommending EU businesses buy encryption technology to protect themselves.

His trip to Washington with 11 other MEPs had to be cut short last week when the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and Commerce Department's Advocacy Center all refused to talk to the delegation.

Only the House of Representatives' oversight committee on intelligence and the Attorney General's office were willing to talk.

Schmid says the US authorities had "not done themselves any favours" by refusing to cooperate. And even if the MEPs had failed to establish the US was spying for commercial gain, other nations, such as Russia, certainly were. "It is enough that we know that some people are and that we have to protect our communications," he added.

Schmid's draft report is due to be presented to the Parliament's special Echelon committee this month.

EU firms are being advised to invest in anti-surveillance equipment to thwart US eavesdropping.

Subject Categories
Countries / Regions