News Burst: US snoops on European encryption

Cipher expert claims US has broad access to encoded European correspondences

European officials on Monday played down comments from a British communications expert suggesting that the US intelligence service has been spying on the European Commission -- Europe's government body.

Details of a statement from Desmond Perkins, a senior official for the commission's cipher unit, were revealed in the French news paper Liberation Friday. In a hearing held in February, Perkins is reported to have revealed that the US has access to encrypted European Union communications.

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