Risk
6/12/2013
09:47 AM
50%
50%

NSA Prism Fallout Delays EU Airline Database Vote

Accusations of "paranoia" and discrimination against non-U.S. citizens aired in Brussels this week -- though the importance of working with America on security was also a theme.

Though British political leaders on Tuesday expressed a relaxed attitude about the safety of citizen data in their country, other European lawmakers seem to be a lot less happy, as the aftershocks from last week's U.S. NSA Prism program revelations continue.

In a sometimes-heated session in the European Parliament, members of that body not only expressed deep concerns about possible loss of privacy by their constituents, but also agreed to delay a vote about possible sharing of airline passenger data.

Specifically, according to the Parliamentary timetable, there should have been a vote Tuesday on plans to let law enforcement agencies access stored European Union (EU) airline passenger name register (PNR) data in cases where travelers are being investigated for possible criminal or terrorist activities. The idea is to build a PNR database on flights within Europe; a program already exists that shares such data between the U.S., Australia and the EU.

[ What do we know about Edward J. Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked details on Prism? 9 Facts About NSA Prism Whistleblower. ]

However, British member Tim Kirkhope succeeded in referring the issue back to Brussels' civil liberties and justice committee, LIBE. The plans had been somewhat controversial before Prism made worldwide headlines, but Kirkhope's move is seen as the best way to eventually get them passed, as the current mood is deeply against anything perceived as so invasive. Kirkhope wrote in April that he feels objections to the proposals are "hypocritical."

"The failed vote means that up to 16 EU countries will still collect passenger data, but with completely different rules and procedures in place for handling and storing it, and no ability to share it when tackling cross-border offenders. Not only could this hamper cross-border criminal detection, it could also put at risk the security of passengers' data," Kirkhope wrote.

But airline passenger data is far from the only online privacy and security issue, as far as European Parliament speakers from across the political spectrum were concerned. Most speakers condemned Prism as they understand it, finding the fact that only non-Americans were targeted to be a particular problem. German member Manfred Weber, declared: "It is completely unacceptable that the U.S .has different rules [for its] citizens and citizens of other countries." Another lawmaker, Britain's Claude Moraes, characterized the Prism affair as denoting "a major breach of trust" between the two nations.

The most colorful expression of this feeling, though, was probably from Dutch representative Sophie in 't Veld, who said, "Obama said to his citizens: 'Don't worry, we are not spying on you, we are only spying on foreigners.' But this is us [i.e., Europeans]. What kind of special relationship is that?"

For Slovakia's Jaroslav Paska, "The paranoid behavior of our American partners is regrettable."

However, Parliament also agreed that the value for Europe of maintaining tight security links with Washington remains as high as ever. Thus for Weber, even though the U.S. approach is "not our approach," we still "work together as partners."

The European Commission, the body that represents Europe as a whole, also said it will raise the Prism issue at the upcoming EU-U.S. joint ministerial meeting set for in Dublin on Friday.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5426
Published: 2014-11-27
MatrikonOPC OPC Server for DNP3 1.2.3 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (unhandled exception and DNP3 process crash) via a crafted message.

CVE-2014-2037
Published: 2014-11-26
Openswan 2.6.40 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and IKE daemon restart) via IKEv2 packets that lack expected payloads. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE 2013-6466.

CVE-2014-6609
Published: 2014-11-26
The res_pjsip_pubsub module in Asterisk Open Source 12.x before 12.5.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via crafted headers in a SIP SUBSCRIBE request for an event package.

CVE-2014-6610
Published: 2014-11-26
Asterisk Open Source 11.x before 11.12.1 and 12.x before 12.5.1 and Certified Asterisk 11.6 before 11.6-cert6, when using the res_fax_spandsp module, allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via an out of call message, which is not properly handled in the ReceiveFax dia...

CVE-2014-7141
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read and crash) via a crafted type in an (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?