The government of France is reportedly operating its own PRISM-like data retention facility.
A report from the French publication Le Monde claims that intelligence officials at the country's General Directorate of External Security (DGSE) agency maintain a massive database at the agency's Paris headquarters. Officials have yet to provide any formal acknowledgment or denial of the report.
Much like the US PRISM database, the French system is said to include logs of user activity from popular internet services including those run by Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter. The archive is also said to hold metadata on content, allowing intelligence agencies to spot larger trends in activity.
If true, the revelation will add to the public outcry and backlash against government intelligence agencies in the wake of the US PRISM discovery. Leaked by whistleblower-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, the PRISM system was said to have been compiled by the US National Security Agency (NSA) without the knowledge of internet service providers that contributed much of its contents.
In addition to the NSA, the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is said to have accessed the PRISM database for help in numerous investigations.
While government officials have defended the programme and denied listening in on specific conversations without first obtaining a warrant from a judge, many groups have demanded that Congress launch a full investigation to learn the true scope of the surveillance.
The incident has also inspired companies such as Google to demand greater transparency and more freedom to communicate with users on how the company works with government agencies and handles requests for user data.
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