Aruna Roy's query led to Kerry's admission on spying

Delhi,Defence/Security, Sat, 02 Nov 2013 IANS

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry's admission that covert global surveillance programmes of National Security Agency (NSA) may have gone "too far" and some spying happened "on autopilot" came on a query posed by social activist Aruna Roy during the Open Government Partnership (OGP) annual Summit held in London, a release said.

According to a release by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) Saturday, Roy confronted Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Roy was sharing the stage with Hague and Kerry (who participated via videolink) in a plenary session of the OGP.

The release said Roy asked why governments were spying, carrying out mass surveillance and passing laws that were limiting space for civic and democratic action at a time when attempts were being made to build partnerships between civil society and government.

Hague passed on the question to Kerry.

Kerry, while justifying the need for surveillance, acknowledged that the process has at times gone "too far".

The release said Roy's question generated the lengthiest 'on record' comment by any high-level US government official on the issue of surveillance and hit the headlines in Britain and the US.

Speaking earlier in the same plenary, Roy gave credit to ordinary people for defending democracy and fighting for the Right to Information in India.

The release said the Indian government has stayed away from joining the 'Open Government Partnerships' although there was strong representation from civil society in the partnership, including the presence of the MKSS in the steering committee.



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