NSA has no direct access to customers' data, IT firms tell MEPs
Microsoft, Google and Facebook managers denied giving the NSA or any government in the world direct or unfettered access to their servers, at the ninth NSA inquiry hearing on the mass surveillance of EU citizens held at Parliament on Monday. US Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner told MEPs that abuses by the NSA were carried out outside congressional authority. "I hope that we have learned our lesson and that oversight will be a lot more vigorous," he said.
The involvement of commercial firms in the US mass surveillance activities took centre stage at Monday's hearing. Microsoft, Google and Facebook managers denied allegations in the media and stated that they did not provide any government in the world with access to customers' data in their servers.
At the hearing, MEPs heard testimony from Mr Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the US Congress Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, who, together with Senator Patrick Leahy, has introduced the "USA Freedom Act" intended to end the NSA's bulk collection of American citizens' communications records by amending the US Patriot Act.
Please see the video recording and our live Twitter coverage of the hearing to get more information (links on the right).