French spy agency 'trawled fiber optics for data'

Magazine claims intelligence service collected personal data from underwater cables

French spy agency 'trawled fiber optics for data'

World Bulletin / News Desk 

France has been collecting personal data from fiber optic cables passing through or near its territory since 2008, a French magazine reported on Wednesday.

The DGSE intelligence agency began compiling email, SMS and social media conversations under former President Nicolas Sarkozy and continued after Francois Hollande came to office, Le Nouvel Observateur revealed.

The data was gathered from underwater fiber optic cables connected to around 40 countries, including the U.S., Russia, China and India, according to the magazine.

The report said the DGSE - General Directorate for External Security - had "used a set of super computers in Paris to collect, every day, dozens of millions of emails, SMS, Skype exchanges, WhatsApp, Facebook conversations."

The spying was initially authorized by Nicolas Sarkozy and later extended to 2019 by Francois Hollande, Le Nouvel Observateur said.

The scandal has echoes of Edward Snowden’s revelations on the U.S. National Security Agency’s data trawling program and comes shortly after Wikileaks revealed that the U.S. agency had been listening to the mobile phone conversations of French presidents since 2006.

Last month, the French parliament adopted an intelligence bill that aims to give the intelligence services powers to access data without judicial approval.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2015, 10:05