US bourger rights activists file a lawsuit and net activists mobilize with an internet campaign. Meanwhile, former U.S. Intelligence officer edward snowden, who launched the spying scandal, wants to stay in hong kong for the time being.
"I’m not here to hide from justice. I’m here to expose criminality," 29-year-old snowden told the hongkong newspaper south china morning post on wednesday. "I am neither a traitor nor a hero. I am an american." he hopes for the legal system of the chinese special administrative region. "My intention is to let the courts and the people of hong kong decide my fate," said the american, who, according to the newspaper, is staying at a "secret location".
Federal justice minister sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger (FDP) demanded comprehensive information from her american colleague eric holder. "We must now do everything we can to find out as many facts as possible," she said in berlin. "We want to know what data may be used, tapped, stored by american companies on the basis of their server in the united states and then also by government agencies."Similar post got holder from EU justice commissioner viviane reading. German interior minister hans-peter friedrich (CSU) sent a list of questions to the u.S.
The american civil liberties union filed a lawsuit against the collection of phone records. She sees this as a violation of the american constitution. The firefox developer mozilla launched the "stop watching us" campaign with the backing of civil rights activists and other companies. They are collecting signatures on the internet for an open letter to the u.S. Congress. "This kind of blanket data collection scratches at the basic american values of freedom and privacy," it says.
The journalist glenn greenwald from the british newspaper "guardian" announced further reports about the US intelligence agency NSA. "We work on stories," he told the news channel CNN.
The "guardian" and "washington post" had reported, with reference to snowden’s information, that the nsa was collecting and analyzing masses of user data from companies such as google, yahoo, microsoft, apple and facebook. The NSA has access to photos, messages and files via the "PRISM" program. The companies deny direct access to their servers by the authorities. Google, facebook and microsoft demand more leeway from the u.S. Government to disclose information about previously secret requests.
First, in an open letter, google demanded the right to publish figures on the extent of its requests under the foreign intelligence surveillance act (FISA). Facebook and microsoft joined the call for action. So far, not even the existence of the requests may be confirmed, because they are subject to secrecy.
The companies have come under pressure because media reports since last week have given the impression that the U.S. Intelligence service can access user data at will. With their business models, the companies are dependent on the trust of the users. Google has been publishing a transparency report for several years with information on other requests for information from the authorities.
Google emphasized that requested information was only ever provided by the company itself. For this, usually a secure FTP connection is used, sometimes they were also handed over at personal meetings, a google spokesman told the "wall street journal" blog "digits".