News / Europe

Le Monde: French Agency Spies on Phone Calls, Email, Web Use

FILE - An employee checks a copy of the freshly-printed French daily evening newspaper Le Monde which announces the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Paris, November 7, 2012. FILE - An employee checks a copy of the freshly-printed French daily evening newspaper Le Monde which announces the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Paris, November 7, 2012.
x
FILE - An employee checks a copy of the freshly-printed French daily evening newspaper Le Monde which announces the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Paris, November 7, 2012.
FILE - An employee checks a copy of the freshly-printed French daily evening newspaper Le Monde which announces the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, Paris, November 7, 2012.
Reuters
France's external intelligence agency spies on the French public's phone calls, e-mails and social media activity in France and abroad, the daily Le Monde said on Thursday.

It said the DGSE intercepted signals from computers and telephones in France, and between France and other countries, although not the content of phone calls, to create a map of “who is talking to whom." It said the activity was illegal.

“All of our communications are spied on,” wrote Le Monde, which based its report on unnamed intelligence sources as well as remarks made publicly by intelligence officials. “E-mails, text messages, telephone records, access to Facebook and Twitter are then stored for years.”

The activities described are similar to those carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency, as described in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The documents revealed that the NSA has access to vast amounts of Internet data such as emails, chat rooms and video from large companies such as Facebook and Google, under a program known as Prism.

They also showed that the U.S. government had gathered so-called metadata - such as the time, duration and numbers called - on all telephone calls carried by service providers such as Verizon.

France's DGSE was not immediately available for comment.

Le Monde said the French national security commission whose job it is to authorize targeted spying, and the parliamentary intelligence committee, had challenged the paper's report and said it worked in accordance with the law. It said the only body that collected communications information was a government agency controlled by the prime minister's office that monitors for security breaches.

Le Monde's report comes amid a storm over media allegations that Washington regularly spies on European citizens and embassies. The allegations, made in the German magazine Der Spiegel, sparked concern from data protection watchdogs and irked European governments just as major transatlantic trade talks are about to start.

Le Monde said France's DGSE was more interested in finding out who was speaking to whom than in combing through the content of private communications. It said the DGSE stored a mass of such metadata in the basement of its Paris headquarters.

France's seven other intelligence services, including domestic secret services and customs and money-laundering watchdogs, have access to the data and can tap into it freely as a means to spot people whose communications seem suspicious, whom they can then track with more intrusive techniques such as phone-tapping, Le Monde wrote.

The Guardian newspaper reported last month that Britain had a similar spying program on international phone and Internet traffic and was sharing vast quantities of personal information with the American NSA.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid