French intelligence agency collects citizens' communications on a supercomputer, says report

French newspaper Le Monde have said that France’s external intelligence agency Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE) spies on the French public’s phone calls, emails and social media activity in France and abroad, similar to the activities described in the documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contracter Edward Snowden.

Le Monde reports that DGSE records phone calls, texts, emails, internet activity, admitting that it is valuable for fighting terrorism, but that it allows them to spy on anyone at any time. The data is collected, compressed and stored by a "supercomputer", they report.

The allegations will fan the flames of the spying debate. The French said earlier this week that they were unwilling to immediately proceed with talks on a free trade agreement with the US, due to allegations that the Americans had spied on European citizens and embassies (the talks are going ahead in parallel with investigations, starting on Monday).

Le Monde also said that France’s seven other intelligence services all have access to the data and can access it freely to investigate people whose communications seem suspicious. Some data can even be accessed by the police.

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