NSA spying row deepens after UN and EU allegations

United Nations refuses to comment directly on claims US intelligence agency hacked internal communications

Jonathan Paige
Monday 26 August 2013 17:41
Comments
The NSA's offices in Fort Meade, Maryland in the US
The NSA's offices in Fort Meade, Maryland in the US

The UN has not commented directly on allegations that the US National Security Agency had hacked into the internal communications of both it and the EU.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that documents it obtained from Edward Snowden show the NSA secretly monitored the UN's internal video conferencing system by decrypting it last year. In three weeks, Der Spiegel said, the NSA increased the number of decrypted communications at the UN from 12 to 458.

Not only that, but the intelligence agency also reportedly installed bugs in the European Union offices in Washington and infiltrated its computer network.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman for the UN, said that "the inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organisations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well-established international law."

He added: "Therefore, member-states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions."

The 1961 Vienna Convention regulates diplomatic issues and status among nations and international organizations.

It says in part that a host country cannot search diplomatic premises or seize its documents or property. It also says the host government must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country.

Wiretapping and eavesdropping are nothing new - it was an open secret that both the US and Soviet Union used the techniques on each other - as well as on their own citizens - during the cold war. Since its end, the use of covert spying has continued at much the same level.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in