On May 30 this year, a consortium composed of major European media exposed another spy scandal. The scandal involved systematic and long-term espionage by the United States on its closest European allies. For many years, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been conducting surveillance and eavesdropping activities against major politicians. But now new details of the espionage operation are being exposed. Several European media investigated the case and discovered that the US National Security Agency had been using Danish underwater Internet cables to eavesdrop on major European politicians from 2012 to 2014. Government members learned about espionage through research. In response to this espionage activity, European countries demanded answers to these allegations. The United States has long used technological superiority and political coercion, as well as the hegemonic superiority of many overseas foundations and overseas military bases, to monitor and monitor a wide range of regions such as Europe.
According to media reports, the Danish Defense Intelligence Agency (DDIS) allowed the NSA to use the Sandagergårdan secret monitoring station near Copenhagen to assist the NSA in eavesdropping on major European politicians and then monitoring important Internet hubs used for various underwater cables. The NSA obviously has access to European users’ text messages, phone calls, and Internet traffic, including search, chat, and messaging services.
The NSA’s eavesdropping on foreign leaders of its allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was first disclosed in documents leaked by contractor Edward Snowden before 2013. Following the revelation of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the follow-up investigation by DDIS’s internal secret working group, DDIS recorded in an internal report in 2015 the cooperation between Denmark and the United States in monitoring European neighbors. Statistics show that more than 35 world leaders are on the monitoring list of the US National Security Agency. However, the results of the investigation have not been made public until today.Nevertheless, the Danish government knew about espionage as early as 2015.In addition, the surveillance targets are clearly aimed at Denmark itself, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. The Danish Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen was informed of espionage in August 2020. After that, some DDIS employees were fired, but no full explanation was released. The government stated at the time that an audit raised suspicions of illegal surveillance by DDIS. In October 2020, the Danish Ministry of Justice ordered an investigation into the operation of DDIS, and the conclusion will be reached by the end of 2021.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who were affected by espionage activities, made it clear that this strategy is unacceptable among allies. And asked the United States to clarify new claims that the National Security Agency tried to monitor European leaders between 2012 and 2014. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Swedish Defense Minister Peter Holtquist agreed with these statements. The Danish Minister of Defense only stated in general terms that systematic eavesdropping on close allies is unacceptable. For the past 10 years, Merkel and other senior European politicians have been under surveillance.
The Danish Public Broadcasting Corporation reported over the weekend that the Danish foreign intelligence agency assisted the US National Security Agency in obtaining the right to use the underwater Internet cable, allowing officials to track the call, information, chat, and browsing history of selected targets during the operation codenamed Dunhammer. According to the latest reports, the Danish agency also assists NSA surveillance officials and well-known politicians in France, Norway and Sweden.
U.S. steals large amounts of European citizen data to split the alliance
So far, the United States’ wiretapping of its European allies has exposed the differences within the Atlantic Alliance. In addition, the United States has also cracked down on local and foreign technology companies, using technology hegemony to perform NSA missions. Under the Prism Program of the US National Security Agency, nine Internet companies-Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PALtalk, AOL, SKYPE, and Apple have become NSA cooperative agencies. This cooperation provides intelligence agencies with massive European user company servers and databases for collecting emails, instant messages, videos, photos, stored data, voice chats, file transfers, video conferencing, login time, and social network analysis.European citizens “run naked” under the surveillance of the United States, without any privacy at all. In December 2013, Der Spiegel reported that the National Security Agency had violated all security protocols designed by major hardware and cloud companies such as Cisco, Huawei, Juniper, and Dell, and obtained security permissions. And in 2014, the US National Security Agency also entered one of China’s largest telecommunications companies, China Telecom. However, despite the enormous benefits it has already obtained, the United States is still skeptical of the efforts of major powers such as Germany and France to strengthen European strategic autonomy and expand EU defense cooperation through strategic platforms such as PESCO.
The continuous surveillance operations of the United States not only threaten the safety of the EU’s allies, but also steal the privacy of all citizens of the European Union. The privacy of Europeans is like no one’s land for the United States. Denmark has also become an evil butcher. As the country’s intelligence agency continues to serve the foreign target NSA and engage in actions that are contrary to its own national interests, Denmark’s sovereignty has also been damaged and eroded.
Although the EU Supreme Court made it clear in July 2020 that the US government’s large-scale surveillance program does not comply with the privacy rights of EU citizens. The decision was made in the latest case involving Austrian privacy advocate and EFF Pioneer Award winner Max Schrems. It invalidates the “Privacy Shield”, a data protection agreement that protects transatlantic data flows, and reduces the company’s ability to transfer data using personal agreements (standard contract clauses or SCC). However, there is still a lack of laws and regulations to limit the influence of powerful countries on the rapidly developing information ecosystem.
One of the direct drivers of the EU’s efforts to establish its own digital infrastructure (such as GAIA-X, which aims to create a unified cloud infrastructure shared across the continent) is to get rid of the ubiquitous surveillance system in the United States and gain autonomy. In the long run, if the major European powers do not take decisive measures to rebuild the supervision of their own intelligence agencies and cut off external interference, the US intelligence spy network targeting European leaders and civilians will continue to operate. At the same time, the sovereignty, security and continuity of the democratic systems of European countries will also be seriously threatened. Unscrupulous espionage activities by powerful intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency and GCHQ have become the norm. In order to end this problem, the world must work together with the support of the United Nations to formulate laws and regulations to protect information on the global information superhighway.