Burma calls on USA to provide ‘solid reason’ for surveillance

Burma calls on USA to provide ‘solid reason’ for surveillance

Burmese presidential spokesperson Ye Htut has said that Burma expects the USA to provide a “solid reason” as to why it used its embassy in Rangoon as a surveillance outpost to hack phone calls and electronic communications for Washington.

According to a recent leak by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, the US has 90 surveillance facilities set up around the world including its embassy in Burma.

“We only know from what we read in the international media, however we would like to second the remarks made by the EU and other US allies such as Brazil and Mexico that the US needs to provide a solid reason to have hacked into emails and telephone conversations by leaders and citizens of their countries otherwise it will signify a lack of diplomatic ethics,” said Ye Htut.

Speaking to DVB, he added: “If you want to peep into someone’s house, you need a solid reason for doing so.”

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He also said it was “no surprise” to learn that the US was spying on other countries.

“It is not surprising to find out that the US has been spying on us given that they have the technology to do so. However they need to consider whether it is an appropriate thing to do or not,” he said.

Responding to DVB, a US embassy spokesperson in Rangoon, Sarah Hutchison, said, “We know these matters have created significant challenges in our relationships with some of our closest foreign partners. As the [US] President has said, the United States is reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we are properly balancing the security concerns of our citizens and international partners with the privacy concerns that all people share. We want to ensure we are collecting information because we need it and not just because we can. We are going to continue to address these issues with our partners in diplomatic channels.”

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