Quelle Surprise. France reportedly has its own PRISM-like data surveillance system
2013-07-04 0:00

By Jon Fingas | Engaget

The US isn’t the only western country with an all-seeing digital eye... at least, according to Le Monde. The news outlet claims that France’s General Directorate for External Security has a PRISM-like system that captures and processes the metadata for "billions and billions" of communications, including internet messaging, phone calls, SMS and even faxes. The goal is ostensibly to track the behavior of terrorist cells, but the Directorate allegedly shares the anonymized information with other intelligence services, including the police. Whether or not residents can do much about the snooping, if real, is another matter. One source believes that it exists in a gray area, as French law reportedly doesn’t account for the possibility of storing personal data this way. We’re skeptical of claims that the Directorate can spy on "anyone, anytime," especially without official commentary, but we’d suggest that locals be careful with their secrets all the same.

Article from: endgaget.com

France ’runs vast electronic spying operation using NSA-style methods’
Angelique Chrisafis | The Guardian

Intelligence agency has spied on French public’s phone calls, emails and internet activity, says Le Monde newspaper

The French president, François Hollande, who said after claims of US spying on the EU that such practices must ’cease immediately’.

France runs a vast electronic surveillance operation, intercepting and stocking data from citizens’ phone and internet activity, using similar methods to the US National Security Agency’s Prism programme exposed by Edward Snowden, Le Monde has reported.

An investigation by the French daily found that the DGSE, France’s external intelligence agency, had spied on the French public’s phone calls, emails and internet activity. The agency intercepted signals from computers and phones in France as well as between France and other countries, looking not so much at content but to create a map of "who is talking to whom", the paper said.

Le Monde said data from emails, text messages, phone records, accessing of Facebook and Twitter, and internet activity going through sites such as Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! was stocked for years on vast servers on three different floors in the basement of the DGSE headquarters.

The paper described the vast spying programme as secret, "outside any serious control" and illegal.

The metadata from phone and internet use was stocked in a "gigantic database" which could be consulted by six French intelligence and security agencies as well as the police.

The paper said Bernard Barbier, technical director of the DGSE, had previously described the system as "probably the biggest information centre in Europe after the English".

Referring to the system as a "French Big Brother", Le Monde said the French state was able to use the surveillance "to spy on anybody at any time". The paper wrote: "All of our communications are spied on."

Le Monde said that after Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s Prism surveillance programme prompted indignation in Europe, France "only weakly protested, for two excellent reasons: Paris already knew about it, and it was doing the same thing".


Read the full article at: guardian.co.uk

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