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Edward Snowden speaks to the Council of Europe

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On 8 April 2014, Edward Snowden gave testimony to the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights by video link. As with his previous testimony to the European Parliament, Mr Snowden used his statement to elaborate on topics that had been previously outlined by journalists. Topics covered include data mining, XKeyscore fingerprinting and the surveillance of Amnesty and other human rights organisations. Mr Snowden also confirmed that we can expect to see “more, and more specific” reporting on NSA attempts to change legal regimes overseas.

The Council of Europe is preparing reports on mass surveillance and on the protection of whistleblowers, which will be published before the end of this year. This is the first hearing supporting those reports; a second will be held on 24 June. Legal challenges to GCHQ’s activities have also been lodged in and fast-tracked by, the European Court of Human Rights.

Audio and video records of the event are available and a full transcript follows below. There are several occasions where the video link was interrupted; these are marked in the transcript.

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Edward Snowden delivers testimony to the European Parliament

In January 2014, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament voted to invite Edward Snowden to testify to its long running inquiry on electronic mass surveillance. Snowden’s testimony has now been published. Unlike Snowden’s previous brief statement to the inquiry, this new evidence includes answers to specific questions posed by members of the LIBE Committee.

In his evidence, Snowden reiterates that he is limiting his comments to topics that have already been reported on. He also repeats hs “willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance.”

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EU Inquiry into Electronic Mass Surveillance draws its conclusions

For the past five months the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has been conducting an investigation into electronic mass surveillance of, and conducted by, EU member states. This inquiry, prompted directly by Edward Snowden’s revelations, held the first of its fifteen hearings on 5 September 2013 and is now making amendments to the draft report prepared by Inquiry rapporteur, MEP Claude Moraes.

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This NSA document from 10 September 2010 details operations against foreign embassies, concluding with a glossary of tools and tactics. Earlier versions of this docoument that only contained some of the operations conducted were published in l’Espresso on 5 December 2013 and in Le Monde on 21 October 2013: see the book No Place to Hide, 13 May 2014.

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