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NSA Whistleblower Skeptical of US-EU Privacy Shield to 'Paper Over' Spying

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NSA whistleblower Mark Klein said that the latest US-EU agreement aimed at protecting European data privacy standards may appear to be a reform, but will unlikely change expansive US surveillance practices.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The latest US-EU agreement aimed at protecting European data privacy standards may appear to be a reform, but will unlikely change expansive US surveillance practices, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Mark Klein told Sputnik.

"When they are caught out in public doing nasty stuff, as happened after my revelations about AT&T, and later after [Edward] Snowden's revelations, they paper it over with new ‘reform’ laws which simply legalize what had been illegal previously," Klein said on Friday.

Under the US-EU Privacy Shield, data belonging to Europeans but held by US companies will be subject to the same strict privacy safeguards as under EU law. The transatlantic data protection pact is set to go into effect on August 1.

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Klein warned that he does not hold much confidence in the privacy laws, "no matter how nice they may sound on paper."

The Privacy Shield is the successor to the Safe Harbour agreement, which was struck down by the EU in October 2015 for failing to prevent the US government from gaining routine access to European citizens’ data.

The Safe Harbour agreement was nixed against the backdrop of the Snowden leaks, which revealed extensive US spying on European allies, and widespread collaboration between US tech companies and the NSA.

In 2006, Klein exposed a secret agreement between his former employer, US telecommunications corporation AT&T, and the NSA. While working as a line technician in San Francisco, he found that the telecom giant was allowing the NSA to record all internet traffic by tapping into AT&T’s infrastructure.

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