Snooping on ordinary citizens by American and European spy agencies ‘in breach of European law’


American and European spy agencies which snoop on ordinary citizens could be in breach of European law, a report presented to MEPs has said.

Government officials from Britain – which is also facing scrutiny over alleged snooping by its GCHQ spy agency – have insisted that such security issues fall outside the competency of the EU. But the legal study by the Centre for European Policy Studies (Ceps) think-tank and Leiden University found that electronic surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and European intelligence bodies could breach EU law on the rights of citizens. “We are all aware of current justifications which have been given by certain member state governments and law enforcement authorities saying this is national security,” said Sergio Carrera, a senior research fellow at Ceps.

The study, however, found that “member states’ surveillance programmes are incompatible with democratic rule- of-law principles,” he said.