Business Irish

Friday 20 April 2018

US spy investigated boyfriend, High Court told

Expert witness: John Delong, former director of compliance with the NSA
Expert witness: John Delong, former director of compliance with the NSA

Tim Healy

"Blanket protection" provided by the US in relation to the collection and use of "foreign intelligence" data is extraordinary in the "best sense" of that word, a former director of compliance with the US National Security Agency (NSA) has told the High Court.

Acting as an expert witness for Facebook, the former official, John Delong, said a 2013 letter from the NSA inspector general noted just 12 substantiated instances in 10 years of intentional misuse of the so-called signals intelligence authorities of the NSA.

In one case a government employee targeted the phone number of her foreign-national boyfriend, he said.

Because that was "clearly not foreign intelligence" the employee's actions were directly investigated and she resigned before disciplinary action was imposed, he said.

Signals intelligence serves "a critical role" in protecting the US, its allies and partners around the world, he said.

Paul Gallagher SC, for Facebook, cited Mr Delong's detailed report on Tuesday in his continuing arguments opposing action by the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon, whose case is aimed at having the Court of Justice of the EU decide on the validity of European Commission decisions approving transatlantic data transfer channels known as standard contractual clauses (SCCs).

She initiated the proceedings after making a draft finding in May 2016 that Austrian lawyer Max Schrems had "well-founded" objections to transfer of his personal data from Facebook Ireland to its parent in the US, Facebook Inc.

The case continues before Ms Justice Caroline Costello.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business