New documents released by Edward Snowden have revealed that the popular European telecom Orange has been sharing private user data and information with the French government, in an attempt to catch any terrorists who might have made a call or sent a text over their networks.
In collaboration with the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, or “DGSE”, Orange shared detailed call logs, triangulation records, and personal info packets with local surveillance teams to collect data on a number of citizens who travelled to Iran, Canada, Spain, Norway, and Greece.
For much of the NSA scandal, France has played the part of victim, accusing the agency of overstepping the same lines in the sand that had been drawn by much of the European community since the problem first hit the public eye last year.
Now it seems that although the French government may have not been directly complicit with the US in spying, it still used many of the same tactics on its own people with little remorse or apology for their actions.
Much like the rest of the leaks, Orange is unable to point to a single instance in which the program was actually effective, or even worth breaching the rights of their customers in the first place.
“The relationship between France Telecom and the DGSE is not the same as that found in the NSA’s PRISM programme, which has contractual relationships with internet giants,” a former French intelligence chief told the paper. “There is no formalisation of this cooperation between the DGSE and France Telecom-Orange.”
What makes this story especially interesting is that unlike the countries they were spying on (Canada and New Zealand to name a few), France is not a member of the famed “Five Eyes” collective, which we all know by now is the international surveillance secrets sharing group that meets every Wednesday and Friday at the local coffee shop.