French secret services intercept all communications in France, stocking telephone and computer data for years, the daily newspaper Le Monde reported on Thursday amid an international uproar over spying by the United States.
Government officials have not responded to AFP requests for comment on the Le Monde report, which said data from communications was being stored on a supercomputer at the headquarters of the DGSE intelligence service.
The DGSE “systematically collects electromagnetic signals emitted by computers in France, as well as the data feed between France and abroad: the entirety of our communications are being spied upon”, said the report.
Data collected from telephone conversations, emails, SMS, Facebook and Twitter are then stored “for years” on a supercomputer where other security services can access them.
In a statement socialist lawmaker Jean-Jacques Urvoas, co-author of a report on the legal framework applicable to intelligence services, said the article “hardly corresponds to the reality I know”.
He said interceptions of French citizens' communication were by law subject to authorisation from the National Commission of Security Interceptions Control (CNCIS) and that data collected had to be destroyed after use.
“French citizens are thus not subjected to massive and permanent espionage outside of the law,” he said.
France has been critical of the revelations that the United States' National Security Agency has been scooping up vast amounts of data on Americans and foreigners.
President Francois Hollande had on Wednesday threatened to block EU-US trade negotiations after media reports the NSA was spying on EU offices and embassies. - Sapa-AFP