It did not take too long to discover that France operates its own "Big Brother" network gathering systems after demanding explanations from the US.
The Financial Times reports Veil lifted on France's 'Big Brother' Network.
France operates an "immense" surveillance system of telephone, email and internet traffic similar to the US operation revealed last month by whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde newspaper reported on Thursday.
Like the systems apparently operated by the National Security Agency in the US, the DGSE surveillance covers the identity, place, date, duration and "weight" of telephone calls, but not the content.
Similarly, the "metadata" of text messages, faxes, emails and "all internet activity" on networks run by companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo are collected, Le Monde said.
President François Hollande reacted sharply to Mr Snowden's allegations that the NSA had spied on EU and European offices, including the French embassy in Washington.
He said such activities were "unacceptable" and should "cease immediately". He has called for a full explanation from the US government, linking any progress on key EU-US trade talks due to start next week to full disclosure from Washington.
Paris insisted it does not spy on its allies, but Mr Hollande's outburst raised some sceptical eyebrows among the diplomatic community in the French capital.
Le Monde said the DGSE system was conducted with "complete discretion, at the margins of legality and outside all serious control".
It quoted Bernard Barbier, technical director of the DGSE, as saying at public seminars that France "probably has the biggest information centre in Europe after the English".
"Margins of Legality"
Let's turn our attention to a Google translation from Le Monde Révélations sur le Big Brother français.
If the revelations about the U.S. spying program Prism led a chorus of indignation in Europe , France, she did minor quibbles. For two good reasons: Paris already knew. And does the same thing.
The World is able to prove that 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: all our communications are spied. All e-mails, text messages, telephone records, access to Facebook , Twitter , are then stored for years.
If this huge database was used by the DGSE who officiates as outside French borders, the case is already illegal. But six other intelligence services, including the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), customs or Tracfin service fight against money laundering, including the data that draw interest daily. Discreetly on the sidelines of the legality and beyond serious control. Political know perfectly, but the secret is the rule.
An Illegal Device
This Big Brother French, brother of U.S. services is illegal. However, its existence appears discreetly in parliamentary documents.
The Target: "Metadata"
DGSE and collecting the phone records of millions of subscribers - the identifier of the calling and called the place, date, time, the weight of the message. Same for mail (with possibility to read the mail subject), SMS, fax ... And all Internet activity, which involves Google , Facebook, Microsoft , Apple , Yahoo! ... This is what the parliamentary delegation intelligence rightly calls "the signals intelligence" (SIGINT), translation of SIGINT (signal intelligence) of the NSA.
Supercomputer at Boulevard Mortier
DGSE and collecting trillions of data compressed and stored in Paris, on three levels, boulevard Mortier, in the basement of the headquarters of the DGSE.
Bernard Barber then spoke of the "development of a computer-based FPGAs" (programmable logic circuits), which is "probably the biggest center computer in Europe after the English ", able to handle tens of petabytes of data - that is to say tens of millions of gigabytes. The heat generated by the computers enough to heat buildings DGSE ...
Lack of Control
The device is completely illegal - "a-legal", corrects one of the bosses of the intelligence agencies "The legal regime for security intercepts prohibited implementation by the intelligence services of such a procedure. Prism that ensures the National Commission on Informatics and Liberties ( CNIL ). Each requisition for data or interception is targeted and can not be done on a massive scale, as quantitatively as temporally. Such practices would therefore legally unfounded.
Don't Worry It's Only "Alegal"
Inquiring minds just may be interested in the Meaning of Alegal.
According to the Urban Dictionary ...
An unambiguously wrong, disruptive and often deliberately committed act for which there is not yet a specific law making that act expressly illegal. (See Extralegal) Financial and white collar crimes, such as offshore banking, misrepresenting the value of investments and temporarily selling 'junk' assets to create cashflow are prime examples of "a"legal activities. Alegality is a corollary of the distinction between amoral and imoral reasoning as applied to legality.
Broker#1: We're putting together a portfolio of failing investments so we can sell it investors then short against it and make a killing.
Broker#2: Isn't that illegal?
Broker#1: Nope, just alegal... Now lets get some lattes.
Mish Definition of Alegal
A blatantly illegal action conducted with immunity, because perpetraitors understand they will never be prosecuted or held accountable in any way.
Over the Line
On very rare occasions someone like Ollie North steps way over the line and is prosecuted.
Please see the Iran Contra Indictments at the bottom of the above link for how prosecutions eventually pan out (numerous presidential pardons, convictions overturned, etc)
When the President Does It, That Means It's Not Illegal
In France as with the US, such spy activities are clearly illegal. But it's easy for the spies to do whatever the hell they want because none of them will ever be prosecuted for what they do.
In the US, such activities have the approval of the Obama administration (and the preceding Bush administration as well).
And as we all know "When the President Does It, That Means It's Not Illegal"
Please play the clip. It's only 4 seconds long.