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US top diplomat believes Russia, China spy on his e-mail correspondence - media

August 12, 2015, 4:33 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, August 12. /TASS/. US Secretary of State John Kerry believes that intelligence services of Russia and China were spying after his personal e-mail correspondence, American television news channel CBS reported.

In an interview with CBS, the US top diplomat was asked whether the secret services of the world’s largest and most populated countries were eavesdropping on his Internet correspondence.

"It is very likely. It is not ... outside the realm of possibility and we know they have attacked a number of American interests over the course of the last few days," Kerry was quoted as saying. "It's very possible ... and I certainly write things with that awareness."

According to earlier US media reports, Pentagon’s Joint Staff e-mail was hacked last month and US officials alleged that Russia was behind the breach. A month prior to that the Office of Personnel Management also suffered an outside Internet intrusion and, according to CBS, US officials claimed that Chinese hackers were behind the attack.

The United States authorities intensified their efforts this year at protecting Internet privacy of their citizens following a public outcry over alleged mass spying on people by the National Security Agency (NSA).

In early June US President Barack Obama signed a bill banning the bulk collection of data on electronic communications of Americans. The document, dubbed the Freedom Act, was passed by the Senate by a 67-32 vote on June 3. In May, the bill was approved by the House of Representatives.

In his June 3 statement, Obama welcomed the decision of the Congress saying that the document would help "better safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of the American people while ensuring our national security officials retain tools important to keeping Americans safe."

The USA Freedom Act introduces significant restrictions on the programs of surveillance of electronic communications implemented by the NSA, however, it did not fully ban them.

The document replaced the Patriot Act, which was adopted following the tragic 9/11 attacks and expired on June 1, 2015. The NSA started scrapping its surveillance programs that had been condemned by human rights activists.

The new legislation envisaged a six-month long transition period during which authorities involved in electronic intelligence and counterintelligence must adapt to work under new conditions.

The reform came amid the public pressure, which erupted following the revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In 2013, Snowden leaked to media documents revealing details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the NSA in close cooperation with the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Snowden is accused by the United States of leaking information on the NSA’s worldwide secret surveillance programs to media. In 2013, Snowden was granted a temporary asylum in Russia after spending more than a month in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. In August of 2014, as the asylum expired, Snowden received a three-year residency permit in Russia.

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