Obama speech on NSA welcome, but effects remain to be seen: EU official

Updated: 2014-02-01 10:40


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Obama speech on NSA welcome, but effects remain to be seen: EU official
Center for Information Dominance (CID) headquarters and CID Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida June 13, 2013.  [Photo/Agencies]

MUNICH, Germany - European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem on Friday welcomed a speech made by US President Barack Obama on curbing the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), saying what that meant in practice was yet to be seen.

Malmstroem told participants at the 50th Munich Security Conference that there was a need to see the limits of the NSA and safeguards put in place.

Obama announced in a recent speech a reform of the NSA and its surveillance operations, mentioning the possibility of abuse while insisting operatives should consistently follow protocols.

Malmstroem made the remarks in a panel discussion about cyber security, which was joined by the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizieere, the US chairman of the house permanent select committee on intelligence Michael Rogers and others.

She confessed that there was a heated discussion about the issue of surveillance after revelations were made about the wiretapping of European leaders and the business community last year.

"We need to rebuild the trust across the Atlantics," said Malmstroem.

She stressed there were issues on which Europe and the United States could cooperate such as violent extremism and foreign fighters going to Syria.

She also called for efforts to accelerate talks between Europe and the US on data protection and stressed the need to continue exchanging information to fight cyber crime.

"We need to make sure that we do that with robust safeguards, with checks, with reviews," she said.