Greens win suspension of trade deal with US over spying scandal

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EURO-MPs have backed Green demands for the immediate suspension of talks leading to a proposed new trade deal between the EU and the US after an investigation found ‘overwhelming evidence’ of a programme of mass surveillance of EU citizens by US security forces.

Members of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Programme (TTIP) should not be pursued – at least until the US agrees to change its law and halt all ‘data mining’ from ‘phone and Internet use in the EU.

The investigation, set up by the committee after whistleblower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on the US PRISM project to monitor and record EU citizens’ telephone and Internet usage, condemned PRISM, which it said ‘may entail a breach of EU ctizens’ fundamental rights’.

It calls for an end to all mass surveillance, observing that privacy is not a luxury, but a fundamental right in a free and democratic society.

But Greens called for EU action to go further, establishing a ‘Digital Declaration of Independence’, ensuring that no data is collected – without express permission – on any EU citizens’ Internet or ‘phone use, that the EU ends all co-operation with the US unless and until it changes its law to prohibit all mass surveillance, and that EU states offer asylum to Edward Snowden and all US ‘whistleblowers’ shedding light on US spying activities in the EU.

Jean Lambert, Green MEP and a member of the Civil Liberties Committee which conducted the investigation, said: “The US has behaved abominably here – and the EU must defend the rights of its citizens’ from this unwarranted attack on their basic human rights.

“More and more of us are using the Internet, and smartphones, to access basic goods and services, and we really must be able to do so without our privacy being breached.

“We must offer protection to everyone who sheds light on these activities, and end negotiations on TTIP, at least until the US has gauranteed such a blanket approach to hoovering up data will never be used again.”

The European Parliament as a whole will vote on the Green proposals when it considers the investigation report next month.


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Dump Microsoft Windows 8

win8_infographic_finalThe widely-accepted failure of Windows 8 is a critical moment for the free software movement.

Windows 8 is officially a flop. Despite attempts to force people to use the operating system by shipping restricted boot on new Windows 8 tablets and phones, not to mention a record smashing advertising budget, sales have been sluggish. What we have here is our best opportunity yet to help people give up Windows in favor of an operating system that respects our freedoms to choose, share, change, and view the code we use to conduct our digital lives.Microsoft wants to keep you locked in to Windows so that it can take your money, your personal data, and your user freedom. They don’t want you to know that you have a choice of better operating systems; operating systems that respect your freedom. There are tons of free “as in freedom” software operating systems that you can download and install at no cost. And when they’re improved, you can choose whether or not you want to upgrade, without a corporation breathing down your neck.

 

It is time to upgrade your computer, but not to Windows 8, free your computer today!

Edward Snowden’s leaks reveal that Microsoft has been helping the NSA circumvent encryption for online services like SkyDrive, Outlook.com, and Hotmail, Microsoft is intercepting our stuff and sending it to the NSA, the CIA and the FBI). Continue reading

Greens win vote for Edward Snowden to testify to EU Parliament

Edward Snowden
On Thursday January 9th members of the European Parliaments’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee ( LIBE) voted to request NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to provide them with testimony, the vote was overwhelming with Thirty-six MEPs voting in favour and two against with one abstention

British Conservative MEPs remain still opposed to the Parliament giving Edward Snowden any platform, claiming his leaks are unlawful and have endangered the lives of people fighting terrorism.

No date has yet been set but the session is expected to be held in the coming weeks, MEPs are in contact with Snowden’s lawyers to help set up the link but it is unclear whether the testimony will be delivered live or pre-recorded.

There is of course concern that a live link might expose Snowden’s location in Russia, Snowden would be talking to the Committee about his revelations which helped expose the mass surveillance programmes like Prism, operated by US’s NSA intelligence agency, and Tempora by the UK’s GCHQ.

The idea to have Snowden testify at the parliament came from the Greens in early December, who also want member states to grant Snowden witness protection.

“In inviting the central witness in the NSA scandal, the European Parliament is sending an important signal to the world,” said German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht. Continue reading