21:32 GMT30 July 2021
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    US IT giants Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple refused to attend the hearing organized by the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, the committee's working group spokesman said Thursday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) The special parliamentary committee was set up in March 2014 to examine the extent of the US agency's surveillance activities revealed in documents published by Edward Snowden, former NSA employee, and the allegations that Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, had helped the NSA spy on top political figures throughout Europe.

    "The large US IT companies Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook refused jointly to answer to the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal through representatives… at an open hearing," Christian Flisek, from the Social Democratic Party of Germany, said in a press release.

    According to the statement of the committee's leaders, obtained by RIA Novosti, Microsoft and Google offered to meet the committee informally, behind the closed doors, but the German side refused as it would not comply with the committee's and German society's transparency requirements.

    Several members of the committee, Flisek, Nina Warken (The Christian Democratic Union of Germany), Martina Renner (The Left), Konstantin von Notz (Alliance '90/The Greens party) expressed their disapproval of the companies' position.

    "We do not understand why the leading US companies Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple after months of negotiations refused to help the committee's inquiry and did not send their representatives," the politicians said.

    According to the committee's statement, the companies had repeatedly indicated their readiness to take part in an open hearing and even asked to reschedule it for January 20, but then changed their mind.

    In 2013, Snowden revealed that the personal communications of dozens of world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been monitored by US intelligence agencies. The revelations triggered a major public outcry in Germany, with Merkel accusing the United States of breaching the trust of its allies.

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