Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

EU Commissioner: We Don’t Want U.S. Reading Our Mail and Listening to Our Phone Calls

While it is not yet clear that the NSA spying revelations will lead to any substantive change in the U.S., the growing scandal is poised to spark even stronger data-protection laws in Europe.

Viviane Reding at DLDwomen 2013

European Union Vice President and Commisioner Viviane Reding said on Monday that efforts to strengthen existing privacy laws have gotten a boost from attention to PRISM and other NSA data-gathering efforts.

“It was a wake-up call, thanks to the Americans,” Reding said, speaking at the DLDwomen conference in Munich.

We do not want the U.S. government to listen to every phone call we make and read every email, Reding said.

“Data protection in Europe is a fundamental right,” Reding said. “Strong rules allow trust and, in the Internet world, without trust you cannot go ahead.”

Speaking at the conference, which bridges women’s concerns and technology issues, Reding said that women have been at the forefront of promoting privacy — a key ingredient to freedom and democracy.

“It is mainly women that have understood that importance,” Reding said.

Europeans as a whole, Reding said, are also more keenly sensitive to privacy issues, after painful lessons of what can happen when governments misuse information collected about their citizens.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik