France, through the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), is comparable to the United States when it comes to spying on the planet. According to L’Observateur , citing “anonymous testimony from several current and former officials” , the last two presidents have agreed to extensive surveillance operations of Internet conducted by the DGSE. The weekly survey corroborates in its many items reported since 2013 by World .
wiretapping submarine cables
According to the weekly, Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly approved at the beginning of 2008, at a secret meeting at the Elysee Palace, the tapping of the many submarine cables that dock in France.
This five-year plan that ran until ‘in 2013, involved an investment of € 700 million and employment of 600 people, writes The Obs. Through a secret decree taken by the Council of State – whose existence was strongly suspected – listening stations DGSE were installed near the submarine cables which handle Today the overwhelming majority of global communications.
In Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) or Saint-Valéry-en-Caux (Seine-Maritime), French agents were able to spy on traffic from the US, Africa or the Middle East in order to extract information on terrorism but also, presumably, on companies or diplomats worldwide. That the DGSE is equipped with tools to retrieve data transiting via submarine cables is not new; Never, however, the details of the political oversight of these operations had been made.
A second “cable plan” was approved by François Hollande in 2013, on the same terms, and would include the installation of several new listening stations. The Obs also details the collaboration between Orange and the DGSE. World revealed, in the month of March 2014, the links between the telephone operator and the DGSE
“Management network [Orange] manages including stations called “landing” where accost submarine cables affecting France Telecom-Orange France and which handle the massive flows of data collected. Presorting can easily be achieved in different countries and regions of origin, then everything is stored in the premises of the DGSE. “
The data intercepted by the DGSE are then routed to the basement of the agency Boulevard Mortier in Paris to be analyzed by supercomputers within a data center among the most important of Europe, as we have already written many times. The Obs quotes a source saying that storage “years and years” is performed: “When we look at an IP address or a phone number, we’ll search our data bases and include a list of its corresponding for years. “
Excluding the regime of individual permits
L’Observateur also explains, as already wrote World last April, the DGSE had make some arrangements with the national security interceptions Control Commission (CNCIS), which oversees surveillance in France. The existing law wore while on wiretapping. Nothing was planned for the massive interception of data from the cables. Out of question for the DGSE to submit the flood of intercepted information to a system of individual authorizations: it was therefore decided that the landscape CNCIS its licensing system by issuing “country profiles”, allowing traffic to spy from certain States, as well as “fact sheets” on certain issues like terrorism
According to L’Observateur , an agreement was also found when French data were caught in nets of the DGSE: in this case, the agency did not proceed to the use of this information and the procedure was rocking in the classic framework of administrative interception. But, as noted by the weekly, there is no way to ensure the effective monitoring of this precaution, any more than it is possible to distinguish systematically and with certainty the “French” extraneous data , at a time when many users use services in the cloud, hosted abroad.
The law on intelligence, just adopted, precisely provides for the case of calls made to or received from the abroad, is precisely that of submarine cables and that any data intercepted by the French DGSE be subject to scrutiny by the appropriate Committee.
Finally, L’Observateur evokes the Treaty London 2010 signed between France and Britain on defense issues. A secret component of this treaty would, writes the weekly, the exchange of data between the British GCHQ and the DGSE. An exchange of data we mentioned in November 2013 and March 2014. This cooperation between the two services has even become a “virtual pooling of knowledge” .