Morning Security Brief: France Protests Spying, Pilots Attacked with Lasers, EU Updates Data Laws, and More

By Teresa Anderson

► The French government has asked the U.S. ambassador to appear at the French Foreign Ministry today to answer to allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in widespread spying on French citizens. According to Reuters, France accuses the United States of collecting 70.3 million pieces of French telephone data in a little over a year. “If an allied country spies on France or spies on other European countries, that’s totally unacceptable,” says Manuel Valls, France’s interior minister. The Guardian reports that, in addition to monitoring suspected terrorists, the NSA was allegedly targeting politicians, businesspeople, and members of the French government.

► In two separate incidents this week, pilots flying into LaGuardia Airport in New York City were incapacitated by lasers aimed into the cockpit. According to CBS News, a commercial and a private flight were targeted. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been asked to lead an investigation into the incidents. The latest cases bring the total attacks at LaGuardia this year to 54.

► The European Union is scheduled to vote today on comprehensive new data protection rules. The Associated Press reports that the regulations were made more stringent after news of the NSA’s surveillance program was released. The new rules strengthen online privacy protection and include “stiff fines for violations that could have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies.” The rules are expected to pass the committee vote today, but are likely to be amended as they come under consideration by each of the EU’s 28 member states. has compiled a guide that explains the implications of the rules.

► In an interview for 60 Minutes last night, former Vice President Dick Cheney says that doctors disengaged the wireless function of his defibrillator to prevent terrorists from hacking the device. An article in Forbes discusses the issue with three electrophysiologists to determine the likelihood of such an attack.


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