WEB EXCLUSIVE: NSA Surveillance Strains U.S. Relations With The European Union

Jul 4, 2013

Edward Snowden
Credit Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons

Internet users worried about their personal information being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using websites that send data to the United States, Germany's top security official said Wednesday.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also said German officials are in touch with their U.S. counterparts "on all levels" and a delegation is scheduled to fly to Washington next week to discuss the claims that ordinary citizens — and even European diplomats — were being spied upon by the NSA.

Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the University of Oklahoma's College of International Studies, says what Snowden has revealed goes beyond normal intelligence gathering and turned into a major international incident.

"There's been outrage from France, from Britain, from Germany," Grillot says. "There are now trade agreements that are perhaps in jeopardy of not being signed."

The German magazine Der Spiegel broke the story of the U.S. allegedly spying on Germany and other European Union countries earlier this week.

Rebecca Cruise, the College's Assistant Dean, says it's important to think about the surveillance within the context of Europe.

"Many societies deal with privacy much differently than we do," Cruise says. "They often err on the side of privacy over security. Germany in particular has a history where they are very sensitive to these sorts of issues."