In the wake of the National Security Agency's PRISM internet surveillance and phone metadata collections efforts, it should probably come as little surprise at this point that the United States isn’t the only country in the world that covertly spies on its citizens.
We’re now hearing that France runs a surveillance system of their own that is eerily similar to PRISM. According to a new report from French newspaper Le Monde, the French program is operated by the country's intelligence agency Directorate General for External Security (DGSE). Like PRISM, it’s said to collect phone metadata and Internet communications that take place throughout the country.
Phone metadata includes information about the caller and the person that receives the call, when the call took place and how long it lasted. Like the US program, it doesn’t actually have access to the content of the calls – or so we are told.
Furthermore, the French program is said to monitor traffic from popular web destinations like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo – the same companies that have denied giving the US government access to their servers under the PRISM program.
The newspaper points out that French politicians are aware of the program but have been sworn to secrecy about its existence. We’re also told that all data collected from the program is stored at the DGSE headquarters located just outside of Paris.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not news of the program will be met with the same sort of backlash it received in the US.