Friday

23rd Jun 2017

US spy agency targets French firms

  • The NSA intercepted 70 million telephone records of French citizens within a 30-day period (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Documents seen by French daily Le Monde say the US intelligence agency, the NSA, obtained over 70 million telephone records of French citizens within a 30-day period.

The American spy dragnet took place between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013, reports Le Monde on Monday (21 October).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The paper says certain key words, detected by the NSA system, would launch an automatic recording of the telephone conversation. Text messages were also hoovered up.

The NSA programme is called US-985D.

Aside from terrorists, the programme is likely to have also targeted French businesses, politicians, and government officials, the paper reports.

A code within the programme, entitled "DRTBOX," was used to collect the data of 62.5 million telephone calls. A second code entitled "WHITEBOX" was used to record 7.8 million calls.

Wanadoo, a former subsidiary of France Telecom, and Alcatel-Lucent are said to have piqued the NSA’s interest.

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), an Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary, operates submarine optic fibre cables.

Earlier revelations reported by The Guardian and the Washington Post indicate that US and UK intelligence agencies are able to sweep up large data sets by directly tapping into such cables via a programme called "upstream."

Underwater cable networks are said to carry up to 80 percent of the world’s communications.

“There is no reason not to think that the American agency is also connected to a number of other French addresses, starting with those of Orange, SFR, Bouygues or Free,” writes Le Monde.

Another document seen by the paper says that, on a global scale, the NSA intercepted 124.8 billion telephone calls between 8 February and 8 March.

Border management going virtual

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels are set to endorse new border control measures, while the head of a Tallinn-based EU agency predicts a future where border management goes virtual.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit