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NSA and GCHQ targeted aid agencies and European officials - live updates

Welcome to our hub for all Edward Snowden, NSA and GCHQ-related developments around the world. As arguments rage over how much of our day to day life should be monitored in the name of security, we'll be tracking the growing global debate about privacy in the digital age. We'd like to know what you think about the whole NSA story, what you're worried about - and any new areas you'd like to read more about.

Here's a summary of the latest developments:

  • British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU's competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa. The disclosures which are based on leaks by the whistleblower Edward Snowden have been published in a joint investigation by the Guardian, the German news magazine Der Spiegel and the New York Times.

  • Aid agencies targeted including the United Nations development programme, the UN's children's charity Unicef and Médecins du Monde, a French organisation that provides doctors and medical volunteers to conflict zones. Leigh Daynes, an executive director of Médecins du Monde in the UK, said he was "shocked and surprised by these appalling allegations of secret surveillance on our humanitarian operations".

  • One GCHQ document, drafted in January 2009, makes clear the agencies were targeting an email address listed as belonging to the "Israeli prime minister" who was Ehud Olmert at the time. Three other Israeli targets appeared on the documents, including another email address understood to have been used to send messages between the then Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, and his chief of staff, Yoni Koren.

  • Surveillance targets include Joaquín Almunia, who is vice-president of the European commission with responsibility for competition policy. Almunia has been involved in a long-running investigation into Google over complaints about the company's alleged stranglehold on online advertising; he has also clashed with Google and Microsoft over privacy concerns, and was prominent in the EU's response to the global financial crisis.

  • The latest disclosures come after a White House review panel recommended that the NSA should be banned from attempting to undermine the security of the internet and stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk.

  • The White House review prompted several British MPs to call for tougher scrutiny of the Britain's security services.
[Source: By Haroon Siddique and Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, London, 20Dec13]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
small logoThis document has been published on 24Dec13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.