Friday, 18 April 2014

LN: Prague to protest if US monitoring of Internet is confirmed

10 June 2013

Prague, June 8 (CTK) - Prague will definitely protest against U.S. bodies monitoring non-standard Internet data concerning foreigners, if the information proved true, Igor Nemec, head of the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU), says in daily Lidove noviny (LN) Saturday.

He reacts to The Washington Post's report on Friday that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gather private data of foreign nationals through the nine biggest Internet operators.

The U.S. practice is probably aimed to detect potentially dangerous people, Nemec said.

"We still do not know for sure whether the report is true and what information the U.S. security agencies focus on. That is why we have not reacted for now. In fact this is not the first time the USA demands a non-standard volume of information on foreign nationals," Nemec said.

"For example, they also find out thorough information about the bank accounts of every person landing at an U.S. airport. This is at variance with EU legislation," Nemec said.

If the latest information were confirmed, the Czech Republic would surely protest. However, not on its own, but on on the EU level, Nemec added.

Asked what data of Czech citizens the USA may monitor, in his opinion, he said people are willing to tell anything about themselves on the Internet, by which they considerably facilitate the work for the U.S. bodies.

"The official reason for gathering the data is the fight against terrorism, which is why so called profiling is probably involved. This means the detection of those who could be potentially dangerous based on some of their qualities," Nemec said.

The Czech Republic protested against a similar gathering of its citizens' data once in the past, in the case of Google Street View, where information was gathered that had nothing to do with terrorism, Nemec said.

"In addition, Google monitored unsecured WiFi nets. Based on this, we forced Google to ask for registration in the Czech Republic. In accordance with European directives, every non-EU company that processes data in the EU must have its representative in the given country. They did not officially declare their presence here," Nemec told LN.

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