Less than a week ago, French President Francois Hollande became the loudest critique of the United States’ National Security Agency worldwide spying activities. And he insisted, there was no valid reason to spy on French officials.
But now the French newspaper Le Monde has revealed a vast network of data collection in France.
For over four years, 8 French secret services have been tracking down every phone call, every internet connection, every SMS and every electronic communication not just inside France, but also the ones leaving and entering the country.
The newspaper added, this large scale spying activity centralized in this particular building of the French secret services, is illegal.
After all, the National Committee for the Freedom and Information Technology says, not even secret services have the permission to carry out nationwide tracking.
And yet, as the newspaper reveals, nearly 5,000 people are employed and 600 million euros have been spent to collect data by using a complex network of satellites, under water cables and 20 specialized centers.
One thing is clear, French accusations against the United States are falling flat on their faces.
The French government has denied that France collects data all over the country, but it has admitted that it has been investing in the creation of new technology to track electronic communication since 1991. Meanwhile, the newspaper Le Monde stands by its articles and maintains, it has solid information. As both the government and the newspaper claim they are telling the truth, it is increasingly clear that this tug of war will not end any time soon.
- France runs PRISM-like spy network: Le Monde (japantimes.co.jp)
- France accused of setting up Prism-style spy network (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- France ‘has vast data surveillance’ (bbc.co.uk)