In recent months politicians and some senior legal figures in France have spoken out against the practice of encryption to protect people's data, emails and mobile phone calls, claiming it hampers investigations into crime and above all terrorism. Mediapart can reveal that a policy to force companies to leave so-called “backdoors” in their software to enable the security forces to bypass encryption was close to being adopted by the French government. But the data privacy watchdog in France warns that such measures would put people's computer security at even greater risk at a time of an increasing number of cyber threats. Jérôme Hourdeaux reports.
The revelations that the United States has been tapping the phones of presidents and others senior figures in the French state have provoked a major controversy. Politicians from all parties queued up on Wednesday morning to denounce the spying, revealed in leaked documents obtained by WikiLeaks and published by Mediapart and Libération. President François Hollande, himself revealed to be the target of phone taps in 2012, called a meeting of the government’s defence committee and met a delegation of 20 Parliamentarians at lunchtime to discuss the spying crisis. The Elysée meanwhile issued a statement describing the reported spying as “unacceptable”. But the spying will have come as no great surprise to the authorities in Paris who have known about or suspected such espionage for years. But France has never previously made a major public fuss about the issue for the simple reason that it, too, is part of a vast network involving exchanges of information between intelligence services around the world. And because it, too, cheerfully snoops on its friends. Moreover, the revelations came on the eve of the final vote on the government’s new and highly-controversial snooping legislation. Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report.
The United States has eavesdropped on at least three French presidents and a whole raft of senior officials and politicians in France for at least six years, according to secret documents obtained by WikiLeaks and revealed here by Mediapart. The top secret reports from America's National Security Agency (NSA) show that the phones of presidents François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac were all tapped. But they also show that the espionage carried out on a supposedly key ally of Washington's went even further and deeper, and that senior diplomats, top civil servants and politicians also routinely had their phones tapped. The documents seen by Mediapart reveal proof of the spying on the French state that took place from 2006 to 2012 but there is no reason to suggest that this espionage did not start before 2006 and has not continued since. The revelations are certain to spark a major diplomatic row and highlight once again the uncontrolled and aggressive nature of American spying on friends and foes alike, as first revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi and Jérôme Hourdeaux and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks report.
by Fabrice Arfi, Jérôme Hourdeaux and Julian Assange (Wikileaks)