Feeds

Furious French choke on chardonnay over NSA's phone spying in France

Zut alors! Monsieur l'ambassadeur américain convoqué réunion sans café

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have the French government up in arms: the spying agency collected data on seven million calls and texts a day in the land of fine wine and cheese.

That's according to a dossier published by Le Monde on Monday.

The files reveal that the NSA had two spying operations running to capture French phone calls under the code names "DRTBOX" and "WHITEBOX". Between December 10, 2012 to January 8, 2013, French citizens' "telephone data" was logged in 70.3 million records by the agency for analysis: making a call in France is enough to trigger a recording of the conversation, we're told. Uncle Sam's spooks also intercepted text messages and kept logs of who was contacting whom.

The documents show the NSA, at its peak on Christmas Eve 2012, intercepted seven million French calls and texts a day – perhaps checking who had been naughty or nice – but that surveillance dropped to zero between December 28 and 31. That's possibly because the NSA was at the time waiting for Congress to approve its latest spying operations under Section 702 of the Patriot Act. The average interception rate was three million records a day.

France was the third most highly spied-on European state, according to the dossier, after the UK and Germany. The leak states that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items from foreign countries across the world.

The news of the leaks was timed for maximum embarrassment, as US Secretary of State John Kerry has just arrived in France and may have been hoping for an easy ride given the extent to which France and the US are willing to collaborate on Syria.

Instead of a welcome with open arms and cheek kissing, Kerry will be facing tough questions and the US ambassador has been summoned for an official complaint from the French government; its foreign minister Laurent Fabius described the spying as "unacceptable."

"We have extremely useful cooperation with the United States in the struggle against terrorism, but this cooperation does not justify everything," he told reporters, Reuters reports. "So we've asked the United States to provide clarifications, explanations and justifications extremely quickly."

US ambassador Charles Rivkin declined to comment on the content of the meeting, but said the French government's concerns would be relayed to Washington and commented that US-French relations were the best they have been in a generation. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?