THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has voted in favour of an "in depth inquiry" into US PRISM internet surveillance and better protection for whistleblowers.
The parliament is concerned about how deep the PRISM system runs and whether it has covered its members and citizens of the European Union. Along with this is support for better protection for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the man who took the lid off PRISM.
"MEPs express serious concern over PRISM and other surveillance programmes, strongly condemn spying on EU representations and call on the US authorities to provide them with full information on these allegations without further delay," says a statement from the European Parliament.
"Parliament also expresses grave concern about allegations that similar surveillance programmes are run by several EU member states, such as the UK, Sweden, The Netherlands and Germany. It urges them to examine whether those programmes are compatible with EU law and stresses that concerns have been expressed in other EU countries, such as Poland, in relation to the interception powers of secret services."
A Civil Liberties Committee is being set up and carry out the inquiry, and it will look into as much evidence as it can get from both the US and EU. So far responses to European questions have been disappointing.
"The Civil Liberties Committee inquiry [will] assess the impact of the alleged surveillance activities on EU citizens' right to privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, the presumption of innocence and the right to an effective remedy," added the parliament.
"MEPs involved in the inquiry will table recommendations to prevent similar cases in future and step up IT security in the EU institutions, bodies and agencies."
The PRISM issue is being taken very seriously in some parts of Europe, and the parliament wants to make sure that any future revelations be allowed to play out.
It said that MEPs voted largely in favour of protecting whistleblowers in the future, and for suspending trade talks with the US in the meantime. µ