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French snooping as deep as PRISM: Le Monde

Metadata on everything 'stored for years'

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Edward Snowden's revelations about American communications snoopery have inspired newspapers around the world to investigate domestic spying, the latest of which is Le Monde in France.

The newspaper's exposé (French language) finds that French citizens' communications are just as thoroughly trawled as those in America.

“The Directorate General for External Security (DGSE, the services special) systematically collect electromagnetic signals from computers or phones in France, as well as flows between French and abroad,” the outlet writes. “All e-mails, text messages, telephone records, access to Facebook , Twitter , are then stored for years.”

Further in, it notes that metadata rather than content is the focus of France's spies – something which is not as soothing as it sounds, since metadata will tell any moderately-competent analyst who you communicated with, by which medium, time of day, and other tidbits such as your location and which Websites you visited before or after communicating with someone.

Although Le Monde calls the domestic data-gathering illegal, it says that six other agencies, including the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence and financial agency Tracfin (whose remit is to combat money-laundering) have access to the data. ®

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