Spain demands answers over US spying claims

Summary:The NSA's surveillance program has been targeting Spain, according to reports.

The Spanish government is demanding answers from its US counterparts over reports that it was the target of spying efforts by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The reports — emanating from the huge cache of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden — first emerged in German daily Der Spiegel

A Der Spiegel report published on Monday claimed Spain is grouped with the likes of Germany, France, Italy and Japan in the middle category of where the US considers its surveillance efforts should be focused. The likes of China, Russia, Iran and Afghanistan sit at the top of the list, with many European countries such as Finland, Denmark and Croatia at the bottom.

It is not clear exactly how the surveillance of Spain is being carried out, or who the targets are, however.

Der Spiegel says much of the surveillance is taking place at a US military base near Frankfurt, meaning the NSA is both working with, and spying on, Germany. 

The revelations have caused anger within the Spanish government, according to El País. The Spanish daily claims the country's Foreign Ministry has demanded "clarification and information" from the US embassy. 

According to reports, US chargé d'affaires Luis Moreno has vowed to find out more information about the level of US surveillance and report back to the Spanish government.

While the Spanish authorities may not take too kindly to being spied on by foreign states, it is apparently more comfortable with spying on its own citizens. Recently it emerged that the Spanish government is looking to pass a bill that would allow it to install spyware on suspected criminals' phones and computers.

The documents leaked by Edward Snowden detailed the NSA's PRISM surveillance program, which collected vast amounts of data from citizens all over the world. Tech companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook were also implicated, with reports suggesting they had provided data to the US government . The companies have said they do not provide the government with direct access to users email , however.

Topics: Government, EU, Security

About

Steve is a freelance journalist based in Madrid, specialising in technology and how it impacts businesses. His previous roles include web editor at Computer Business Review (CBR) and before that staff writer at a magazine that wrote about and sold collectable items.

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