While we’ve heard all about America’s PRISM internal and external spying and we know a bit about Tempora, the British variant and we know about illegal spying in New Zealand thanks to Kim Dotcom’s troubles with the law, it seems English speaking countries aren’t the only ones having their rights infringed upon by their own government. France too, has a system in place that allows government agencies to snoop on their own citizens.
While the codename for the nefarious scheme isn’t highlighted in the reveal by LeMonde (subscription required), we do know that it’s operated by the French intelligence agency, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) and allows the organisation to collect metadata (when, where – not the content) of all forms of electronic communication, including social network messages, SMS texts, phone calls and VOIP conversations.
Unfortunately we don’t know if this hasn’t come to light thanks to a brave individual like Edward Snowden, as the paper cites no sources. However, we’re led to believe that all this data is being collected by the DGSE and stored in an underground bunker at the organisation’s HQ in Paris. This information is then allowed to be accessed by France’s other agencies, including military intelligence and local police forces.
While many French media outlets have compared this scheme to PRISM, politicians have played down the role, saying it’s on a much smaller scale than the NSA’s data sweeping. This is the same message given out by those in the UK discussing Tempora, saying it’s far less invasive.
KitGuru Says: All of these schemes are still stepping way beyond the boundaries of security vs freedom. Anyone who’s about to say, “if you’ve got nothing to hide what are you worrying about,” have a quick read of this.