05:32 GMT14 April 2021
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    Most political parties anywhere in the world seldom agree on everything, but when it comes to spying, it’s a different story.

    At least that’s the case in Austria, where every single political party in the Austrian parliament – and there are six – signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance, citing their concerns about the US and others using their spy agencies such as the super-secret National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people abroad.

    There in fact was an uproar not too long when documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the US had been listening in to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls.

    The Austrian parliament wants none of that, and while the motion is largely symbolic, legislators say they hope it sends a message that Austria will not put up with it.

    "The recent revelations of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden have now acted as a call to action for the six parliamentary groups. In a resolution introduced jointly, they express their support for tackling seriously the illegal spying by the US foreign intelligence NSA, its British counterpart GCHQ and other foreign intelligence services," read the motion. "In their opinion, the (Austrian) government should exhaust all available diplomatic options, and diligently pursue violations of the Austrian Criminal Code. In addition, the MPs urge taking steps at the European level to promote the technological independence of Europe in the field of information and communication technology."

    Several members of the Austrian parliament say are considering taking it to the next level and complaining before the European Union parliament in Brussels, and urge fellow members to make the topic a key issue of discussions with the US, Great Britain, and other foreign intelligence services.

    Snowden’s release of a wide-ranging number of documents revealed an extensive amount of surveillance being undertaken by the NSA, including domestic spying without proper warrants, and showed the Obama administration as one that operates in a much more secretive manner than its promise to be the most transparent administration in US history.  

    Edward Snowden, National Security Agency, NSA, Austria, European Union
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