Thorbjørn Jagland, who was Prime Minister of Norway in the mid-1990s and now heads the Council of Europe, complained of "international lawlessness" among the world's intelligence agencies.
"Most countries have national laws that protect their own citizens, but are nevertheless permitted to freely spy or eavesdrop on citizens of other countries," he told VG newspaper.
"Several countries now want two-way agreements with the US to protect their own citizens against surveillance from the other counties, but this does not protect citizens against espionage from countries they do not have a deal with."
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Jagland said new technologies had massively expanded the scope of surveillance by intelligence agencies, making it important that new laws were put in place to set the boundaries of their operations.