Civil Liberties

EU Knew of, But Didn't Prevent, NSA Spying

They didn't want to piss off the U.S.


European authorities have known since mid-2011 that the US could conduct surveillance on EU citizens. But experts say that European countries had little interest in picking a fight with their ally in Washington.

There has been widespread outrage in Europe over the scope of the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program. European experts, however, are not surprised by American whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations.

"What Snowden revealed about PRISM was already known to certain well-connected people for a long time," Benjamin Bergemann, the author of the German blog and a member of the Digitale Gesellschaft (Digital Society) e.V., told DW.

The European Parliament commissioned a report in 2012, which showed that US authorities had been able theoretically to access European citizens' data since 2008. The report's authors were hard on European authorities.