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NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden appears via video-link before the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (Photo: Screen Shot)

Snowden to EU: NSA is Spying on Human Rights Organizations

In video testimony to Council of Europe, Snowden reveals NSA spying on 'trillions' of private communications and violating EU privacy laws

Sarah Lazare

The National Security Agency has spied on renowned human rights organizations, snooped on "trillions" of private communications, and directly violated EU privacy laws, whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed Tuesday to the Council of Europe.

Speaking from Moscow, Snowden appeared via video-link before this EU human rights body's hearing on mass surveillance in Strasbourg, France, during which he revealed that the NSA deliberately spied on human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. "The NSA has targeted leaders and staff members of these sorts of organizations, including domestically within the borders of the United States," he told members of European parliament.

Furthermore, Snowden revealed that the NSA is using data-mining tools like XKeyscore to track "trillions" of private communications. This includes spying on the travel patterns of EU citizens with connection to wrongdoing. According to Snowden, "This technology offers the most significant new threat to civil liberties in the modern era."

“The screening of trillions of private communications for the vaguest of association or some other nebulous pre-criminal activity is a violation of the human right to be free from unwarranted interference, to be secure in our communications and private affairs – and it must be addressed," he stated.

“These processes are abusive," he charged. "This is clearly a disproportionate use of an extraordinarily intrusive authority."

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