EU Parliament Calls On EU Countries To Drop All Charges Against Snowden, Protect Him From Extradition

from the well,-that's-interesting dept

The EU Parliament has just approved a measure (by a narrow 285 to 281 vote) telling EU member states to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." That's pretty huge. Of course, as a resolution, it's more symbolic than actually meaningful, because the member states may not follow through on the request. But it is an important step in the right direction.

At the same time, the EU Parliament reviewed some other issues concerning mass surveillance, including the whole EU-US safe harbor setup. As we noted, the EU Court of Justice recently tossed out that agreement, which is really creating a huge mess for the internet right now. The EU Parliament "welcomed" the ruling, and pushed for alternatives to the safe harbor agreement. As we noted, the safe harbor agreement was a bit of a mess, but it's important to have something in place to allow the internet to function -- and the real problem was the NSA surveillance program.

At the same time, of course, it's worth noting that surveillance by EU governments is just as bad (if not worse in many cases), and it seems the EU Parliament may be realizing that as well:
Parliament is concerned about "recent laws in some member states that extend surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies", including in France, the UK and the Netherlands. It is also worried by revelations of mass surveillance of telecommunications and internet traffic inside the EU by the German foreign intelligence agency BND in cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Simply blaming the NSA and the US for surveillance is missing the point. It's a pretty broad problem, where the NSA/US government is a huge part of the problem, but the EU doesn't exactly have clean hands either.

Again, as mere resolutions, these efforts have little binding authority, but at least people are coming to terms with the damage done and looking to move in the right direction. Declaring Snowden a whistleblower and protecting him against bogus legal threats and extradition would be a really huge step forward.

Filed Under: ed snowden, eu, eu parliament, extradition, mass surveillance, nsa, safe harbors, surveillance, whistleblowing


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:05am

    Snowden has, in my opinion, done more for the people of the planet than any government has done. with the way the UK is pumping itself up, Cameron turning into more or less a dictator, wanting to know everything about everybody, following in the steps of the USA and the boss of MI5 coming out with ridiculous statements of 'plots that failed and more plots to come' just again following the footsteps of the USA, this time of the FBI, CIA and NSA! all, i would guess, to try to get UK population to just roll over and let increases in surveillance come into force, knowing full well that all that will happen is the 'terror tactics' will become more hidden and the data collected that will prove so hindering, that new plots wont surface. that goes for 'back door tactics' as well! security breeches of recent days show what can be done if/when someone wants to get into a system. leaving a way in, which will always be found, is downright stupid!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 5:41pm

      Re:

      "Snowden has, in my opinion, done more for the people of the planet than any government has done."

      Yup, just like a terorist, he has given birth to a world full of people paranoid, worried about the actions of police and government, and generally wasting their time in a constant state of panic and concern about their privacy... all while posting "just back from our guys night out hooker party" on Facebook.

      He has greatly contributed to making the world less stable and less safe. Hats off to him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 7:10pm

        Ah the government's favorite logic, 'We weren't doing anything wrong until you revealed that we were'

        He did nothing but reveal what was already happening. If someone exposes fraud that had been going on previously unknown, are they responsible for it, or are the individual(s) committing fraud responsible? If someone points out a camera that someone else had hidden in a person's bedroom, is the one who revealed it at fault, or the one who placed it there? If a child is caught trying to grab cookies from a cookie jar, are they to blame, or is the person who caught them to blame?

        You don't blame the one who exposes wrongdoing, you blame the one who's doing it.

        If people are 'paranoid', it's because various governments are grabbing every piece of data they can get their hands on. If people are more concerned about their privacy, it's because the various governments have been shown to have nothing but contempt for the public's privacy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Whatever (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 11:20pm

          Re: Ah the government's favorite logic, 'We weren't doing anything wrong until you revealed that we were'

          I actually think the government was doing plenty wrong, and I don't want to be an apologist for it. However, the hyperbole by which much of it has been reported has turned it from "let's fix it" to "a gunman behind every grassy knoll". It's such that the people have been convinced that every action of government is against them - and thus you see the extreme reactions.

          Moreover, most people forget that spying (foreign and domestic) is something that has gone one since long before the US was even a thought in history. Technology makes it easier and perhaps more widespread, but not particular different from the past.

          "You don't blame the one who exposes wrongdoing, you blame the one who's doing it."

          Cuts both ways. Snowden had to break the law in a significant way in order to expose the wrong doing. He violates his security clearance and pretty much did a very treasonous thing, to provide all the documents of US actions around the world to everyone, including the enemies. It should come as no surprise that Russia has been resurgent against the background of all of this.

          The public's vocal desire for privacy doesn't match up with their actions. Social media and electronic devices mean we are more visible than ever, we allow ourselves to be tracked by ad companies, social media sites, cell phone companies, credit card companies, banks, and a whole host of other services and companies that on a day to day basis compile your activities, hopes, and desires in order to "serve you better" with offers, ads, and promotions that suit your desires and activities. Don't think so? Just go search Google for something you never buy or search for, say like "VoIP routers" or something like that, and see what your ads online look like. Or shop Amazon, similar effects.

          The public's claimed desire for privacy doesn't match their actions, plain and simple. The outrage about what the government has been doing is at least in part hype and hysteria stoked by online media pundits trying to drive page views. Not very good!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:29am

            Re: Re: Ah the government's favorite logic, 'We weren't doing anything wrong until you revealed that we were'

            I actually think the government was doing plenty wrong, and I don't want to be an apologist for it. However, the hyperbole by which much of it has been reported has turned it from "let's fix it" to "a gunman behind every grassy knoll". It's such that the people have been convinced that every action of government is against them - and thus you see the extreme reactions.

            Welcome to the wonderful world of politics and the mainstream press where everything has to be hyped, so that a minor difference in views is a major issue, and every wrong doing becomes a major cause for concern.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 5:11am

            Re: Re: Ah the government's favorite logic, 'We weren't doing anything wrong until you revealed that we were'

            It's such that the people have been convinced that every action of government is against them - and thus you see the extreme reactions.

            When the government gets caught spying on people, and lies again, and again, and again about it, go figure, people generally aren't feeling too free with the trust at that point.

            Moreover, most people forget that spying (foreign and domestic) is something that has gone one since long before the US was even a thought in history. Technology makes it easier and perhaps more widespread, but not particular different from the past.

            Yeah, no, there is absolutely a difference. When communications involved letters and then phones, there's only so much you can gather, and it takes work to do so, meaning you only gather info on certain individuals that you have reason to suspect, because it's not possible to gather it on a mass scale. With the tech we have now though? You can gather enormous amounts of highly personal data, and it's easy to do so.

            There are worlds of difference between 'Spying on one person because you have reason to suspect they are engaged in illegal acts' and 'Spying on everyone possible just in case they might do something illegal sometime down the road, simply because you can'. The first is investigation work, the second is sating a voyeuristic fetish.

            Cuts both ways. Snowden had to break the law in a significant way in order to expose the wrong doing.

            Please, if he had to break the law it's because the 'approved' methods of raising concerns had been demonstrated to be little more than traps for the well meaning but stupid. And I imagine you'll object to this, but just because it's the law, doesn't make it right, and just because someone breaks the law it does not automatically make their actions wrong. If he had to break the law to bring the information of what the government was doing to the public, if that's what it took, then so be it.

            He violates his security clearance and pretty much did a very treasonous thing, to provide all the documents of US actions around the world to everyone, including the enemies.

            If 'informing the public of what their own government is doing' is 'treason', then that definition ceases to have any value beyond squashing dissent.

            As well, funny thing, but the apocalyptic disaster that the government claimed would befall us all, the corpses piling to the sky thanks to the release of the info to all those nebulous 'enemies'... never happened. All that info, and it seems the only people who didn't know it already was the public, so the idea that releasing it would be hugely damaging to anything but the USG's credibility and reputation is a joke.

            The public's vocal desire for privacy doesn't match up with their actions. Social media and electronic devices mean we are more visible than ever, we allow ourselves to be tracked by ad companies, social media sites, cell phone companies, credit card companies, banks, and a whole host of other services and companies that on a day to day basis compile your activities, hopes, and desires in order to "serve you better" with offers, ads, and promotions that suit your desires and activities.

            None of those groups can throw you in jail, and to an extent you can avoid them if you care to, so don't try and pretend that there's no difference between them and what the government is doing. Just because someone may be willing to voluntarily make certain personal information public, or give it to a private company does not make the government grabbing everything it can, like it or not, acceptable or even comparable. Someone choosing to post a funny email they got is very different than someone rooting through their entire inbox without their knowledge or consent.

            The outrage about what the government has been doing is at least in part hype and hysteria stoked by online media pundits trying to drive page views.

            In part, but a large part of the outrage is due to the government spying on it's own citizens, on a massive scale, lying about it, and getting caught out on their lies. People don't care to be spied on by their own government, and people don't care to be lied to by their own government, it's not hard to see why people would be angry when both are happening.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 5:51am

            Re: Re: Ah the government's favorite logic, 'We weren't doing anything wrong until you revealed that we were'

            "The public's vocal desire for privacy doesn't match up with their actions."

            You are equating two very, very different things here. This is like saying that because people are fine with donating money, they should also be fine with someone stealing their money.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 11:29pm

        Re: Re:

        It's always funny to see you idiot trying your best to make an ass out your self. BTW, whos to blame? The terrorist or the idiots getting paranoid?

        I also see you gladly used the debunked flawed anology of just because some morons posts their debauchery pics on Facebook VOLUNTARILY, people just have to be fine to be spied upon by a vindictive government.

        Way to go, genius.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re:

        He didn't make the world less stable and less safe, he just made us aware of that how it is. Hats off to him.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:17am

    this is a filthy smoke screen:

    what about the millions of migrants at the borders?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Oct 2015 @ 3:31am

      Re:

      Driven there by US and EU foreign policies.

      "I am going to lie back and try to enjoy austerity measures and being bombed," said nobody ever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:19am

    at least the publicly admit Germany is not a sovereign country but the cableguy of the NSA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    kehvan (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:33am

    No, I'd much rather have a public trial, so the American public has an even better idea of what Snowden took from SIPRNet... and if Snowden really is just another Daniel Ellsberg, then he should have faith in the American public to acquit him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      Given the pandemic of bribes and lobbying in the government, that sounds like a downright stupid thing to do. It would just be another instance of putting on a show to make the public think they have any influence when they actually don't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      The problem isn't the American people, it's the Cardassian Articles of Jurisprudence that the Espionage Act operates under.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chris-Mouse (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      Snowden has lots of faith in the American public. Unfortunately for him, the trial would be conducted by the American government. I'd have to say he's got some really good grounds for not trusting the American government at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      Seriously?

      "faith in the American public"

      you are a lost mind, just judging by the last 3 presidents we have elected, anyone thinking that faith in the American public is legit does not deserve any attention.

      The American Public is asleep, lost, and ignorant. They are still stuck in the petty squabbles of party that has been slowly and surely eating away at this nation.

      A lot of veterans alive today actually like Bush despite the fact that Bush spit & pissed on their service and sacrifice with the DHS/TSA and the Patriot Act with Obama coming along and resuming Bush's spot over their gravestones.

      Faith in the the American public... give us all a break pal!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      I'm guessing you haven't been paying much attention to the issue. Snowden wouldn't be tried by the public, he'd be tried by the government, the same government that really, really hates his guts, has shown itself to be incredibly vindictive against those that expose it's wrongdoings, and would love to toss him in a cell and 'forget' about him(and that would be if he was lucky).

      Of equal importance, the law they'd charge him under, the Espionage Act, does not allow motive as a defense. It's strictly black or white, yes or no, 'Did the accused do X, or did they not?' As there's no doubt that he did in fact leak the information, he'd be found guilty, guaranteed, and why he did what he did would never even come up during trial.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re:

        That. And those who know his story and aren't deep in the pocket of the surveillance apparatus do support him and wholeheartedly agree he should stay away from the US or any of their lap dogs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      he should have faith in the American public to acquit him.

      The American public isn't trying him. The government is.
      So having faith in the public to acquit is not an option.

      If I had a choice to run or be tried without the ability to mount a defense, yeah, I'd run too. Any reasonably intelligent person would.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 29 Oct 2015 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      Ellsberg himself has said that "Snowden ... has done nothing wrong," and that "Nothing worthwhile would be served ... by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law." Specifically, Ellsberg has said that "the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable."

      Further, Ellsberg has said that Snowden "should get the Nobel peace prize and he should get asylum in a west European country."

      So as you seem to view Ellsberg as having some importance in this matter, maybe you ought to actually listen to him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      @ kehvan
      1. HE HAS explicitly asked for a trial, with only a couple reasonable, humane, conditions: no torture, no death penalty...
      Empire would offer no such minimal assurances...
      2. '...faith in the amerikan public to acquit him.' um, did you just finish 6th grade civics class and actually BELIEVED that bullshit ? not to mention, just HOW do the 'merikan people 'acquit' him ? what sort of insane palaver is that ?
      do you still hum along to 'how a bill becomes law', and think that bears even a shadow of a semblance to the reality of sausage/law making ? ? ?
      3. i'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it seems inescapable that urine idjit, and a cruel dude, to boot...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 4:16pm

      Re:

      That would never happen. It would be a secret court with secret evidence the defence and judge are denied seeing because "national security". That the judge will just have to take the prosecutions word on it proves snowden has no defence and must be found guilty.

      To have a fair trial you would first have to have several thousand treason trials for the traitors currently trying to mold your country into a tyranny.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 11:32pm

      Re:

      then he should have faith in the American public to acquit him.

      Which probably will do him as much good as their acquittancea did for Manning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 2:36pm

    He should wait for President Obama to close Guantanamo Bay, as he said he would during his campaign. Now that relations are being "normalized" between the U.S. and Cuba that is a distinct possibility. I fear our government doesn't want him back on American soil, and even if they do Mr. Putin may have other thoughts on the matter. God speed Edward Snowden.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 9:31pm

      Re:

      I agree they don't want him back on U.S. soil but disagree on what they will do. Any mode of transportation used to bring Snowden to the U.S. would suffer a terrorist attack from the villain of the day and the crew would be commemorated as heroes. Snowden becomes an asterisk as part of the reason for the attack.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 4:11pm

    Considering how the US recently decided all American citizens outside the US have no rights. What are the odds that his rights will be respected even if granted asylum? What is stopping them from sending agents to kidnap, torture and or kill him if he leaves Russia. for a EU state instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 4:32pm

    I'm glad the EU Parliament acknowledges Snowden as a whistleblower. Rightfully so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 7:47am

    If EU was really concerned about privacy and security, they would have welcomed Edward Snowden a long time ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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