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US accused of monitoring 60 million Spanish calls in just one month

  Monday 28th October 2013

Spanish newspapers El Mundo and El País have recently reported that the United State’s National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored approximately 60.5 million calls in over just one month. 

The information was sourced from ex-NSA contractor, and now fugitive, Edward Snowden. The paper established an agreement with Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with information provided by Snowden in order to access records affecting Spain. 

The Spanish Government has so far maintained that it was entirely unaware of the alleged surveillance of the millions of Spanish phone calls, texts and emails, spanning between 10th December 2012 and 8th January, this year. 

It was also detailed in the papers that it was only the numbers and locations of the callers and recipients that were collected, rather than the actual content of the calls. 

The Spanish Government claims it was unaware of the surveillance of its citizens, so the means of the NSA’s data collection remains unclear. Photo: Doug Caribb

The Spanish Government claims it was unaware of the surveillance of its citizens, so the means of the NSA’s data collection remains unclear.
Photo: Doug Caribb

These claims follow a similarly recent outcry from Germany, after reports that the US had been bugging chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for almost a decade ignited additional demands for explanation, as Merkel endeavoured to protect the privacy of her country. 

Spain resisted calls from Germany on Friday, as the country pushed for a “no-spy deal” to be made between the EU’s 28-member states.  

Merkel appears not to be the only world leader subject to the NSA’s focus, as The Guardian reported on Friday that the phones of 35 prominent global figures have been tapped across the board. 

Meanwhile, Japan has simultaneously revealed that the Japanese government declined an approach from the US in 2011, seeking help to monitor fibre-optic cables carrying personal data through Japan into Asian Pacific Regions. 

Head of parliament’s delegation, British MEP Claude Moraes, commented that it was this scale of the surveillance that was the real worry rather than the surveillance itself.  

He said: “The headline news that 35 leaders had their phones tapped is not the real crux of the issue.” 

“It really is the El Mundo type story, that millions of citizens of countries…had their landlines and communications tapped. So it’s about mass surveillance. It’s about scale and proportionality,” he added. 

America’s ambassador to Madrid has been summoned to meet Spanish foreign ministry officials later today to discuss the allegations. 

The White House has offered no comment on these recent claims, and Snowden remains out of reach of US attempts to arrest as he resides in Russia. 

It is strongly speculated that the US’s breach of privacy and distrust of its fellow nations is likely to blemish or damage the global alliance which fights terrorism. 

Bethany Bishop

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