Another day, another round of troubling surveillance news. In a twist, though, today’s nugget has less to do with the US or the NSA but rather, France’s central intelligence agency, the DGSE. According to a leak by Edward Snowden to the French paper Le Monde, Orange, the country’s leading telecom, has been willingly sharing all of its call data with the agency. And according to the leaked document — originally belonging to the UK intelligence agency GCHQ — the French government’s records don’t just include metadata, but all the information Orange has on file. As you might expect, the DGSE then shares this information with other countries, including, of course, the UK, which had this incriminating document in the first place.
In a way, this isn’t surprising: the French government owns a 27 percent stake in the company. But until now, Orange has ostensibly been operating as a private firm. What’s more, the leaked document would suggest that the DGSE’s relationship with Orange has been cooperative, with Orange employees creating new tools to collect and interpret the data. If true, then, this arrangement would go beyond the DGSE merely requesting specific cell phone records and getting them. For now, both the French government and the DGSE have declined to comment, according to TechCrunch, while Orange CEO Stéphane Richard told LeMonde that he isn’t aware of what the DGSE is doing, but that Orange has granted access to the DGSE to comply with the law.
BY DANA WOLLMAN @DANAWOLLMAN MARCH 20TH 2014, AT 3:29:00 PM ET 16
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