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Government Privacy

Revelations On the French Big Brother 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick-rename-french-fries-again dept.
Wrath0fb0b writes "Days after President François Hollande sternly told the United States to stop spying on its allies, the newspaper Le Monde disclosed on Thursday that France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France. The report notes that 'our email messages, SMS messages, itemized phone bills and connections to FaceBook and Twitter are then stored for years.' For those Slashdot readers that grok Français, you can read the original at Le Monde or the translated version from LM."
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Revelations On the French Big Brother

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  • I'm not French (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:34PM (#44198347)

    Well, you know, spying on you own people and spying on other countries are two different things.

    Here in the United States, spying on your own is generally held to be distasteful, and very often illegal. But while we project our own ideas of law on other countries, often they have no such squeamishness about domestic spying.

    As to American spying on it's own:

    * First the Obama Administration said "Weâ(TM)re not doing this."

    * Than they said "Weâ(TM)re doing it to ferret out Terrorists!"

    * And now they justify what Snowden and others have revealed by saying "Well, EVERYONE ELSE is doing itâ¦"

    As an American, while in an abstract way I care what the French are doing to their people, my opinions are really only applicable to my own country - in other words, as far as NSA spying, what the French are doing is not relevant.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      The government has always kept a close eye, within its capabilities, upon its people, those who reside within and those they interact with (and often their allies, too.) There's just more ability to keep track because we do so much more digitally these days. If you really want privacy, go over and talk to your friends (unless they work for the NSA, CIA, FBI, NKVD, MI-6, CAGEY BEE, etc.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, you could start by using a fucking browser with a spell-check built in. Or copy/paste from Word into notepad before pasting into Slashdot text edit box. Your post is utterly annoying to read.

    • Re:I'm not French (Score:4, Informative)

      by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:10PM (#44198753)

      But while we project our own ideas of law on other countries, often they have no such squeamishness about domestic spying.

      I thought that, too, but in this case Le Monde called this program "perfectly illegal" [arstechnica.com]. I'm inclined to believe its editors understand French law better than I (an American) do.

    • Re:I'm not French (Score:5, Informative)

      by godrik (1287354) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:22PM (#44198883)

      Well, it is politically interesting in France. There is a large movement there to have more openness (called "transparency") in what the government and congress do and how they reach these conclusions. It was a proposition of the runner up to the presidential elections 6 years ago to put video tapes of the council of minister as public records. It was a proposal by Segolene Royal, supported by the socialist party, in order to cleanse public politics. Now we have Francois Hollande as president who was supported by the socialist party; and he was strongly advocating against prism a week ago.

      There are in France many law that restrict what you can or can not store about people in databases (would they be public or private). This is supposed to be taken care of by the CNIL (National Comitee for Internet and Liberty). CNIL is supposed to be the one that prevents electronic wiretaping and electronic spying... But in the recent years the role of CNIL has weaken a lot.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The I in CNIL stands for Informatique, not Internet. Informatique encompasses anything related to automated manipulation of data, aka Computer Sciences in its broader sense.
         

    • by poity (465672)

      * And now they justify what Snowden and others have revealed by saying "Well, EVERYONE ELSE is doing it

      Is it just me or does this sound like you're saying Le Monde is conspiring with the US government?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054)

      s an American, while in an abstract way I care what the French are doing to their people, my opinions are really only applicable to my own country - in other words, as far as NSA spying, what the French are doing is not relevant.

      When the French spy on US citizens and feed it to the NSA, how is that different, or some how not relevant? I'm sure the NSA returns the favor. Each side claiming they are protecting their citizens from the Rest of the World.

      Perhaps we as Americans, still clinging desperately to tatters of our Constitution, which, in our hearts, we know is already a joke, have a harder time than the rest of the world getting our head around one single question:
      Where did this entire Ide

      • When the French spy on US citizens and feed it to the NSA, how is that different [than the US spying on its own citizens]

        In a practical sense, it's not different. In a legal sense that the Executive Branch can use for justification "in the court of law", it's an important distinction.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      As an American, while in an abstract way I care what the French are doing to their people, my opinions are really only applicable to my own country - in other words, as far as NSA spying, what the French are doing is not relevant.

      I supposed it's relevent to French people, but since when have Americans cared what French people think? Shavano (Would you like some Freedom Fries with that?)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is French for "only a fool would be remotely surprised that any technologically advanced nation would be collecting this data"?

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "What is French for "only a fool would be remotely surprised that any technologically advanced nation would be collecting this data"?"

      Seul un pauvre con serait quelque peu surpris, qu'une Grande Nation, possédant une technologie avancée, collecte ces données.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:49PM (#44198499) Homepage Journal

      What is French for "only a fool would be remotely surprised that any technologically advanced nation would be collecting this data"?

      Le proper Nelsoning: "Le ha-ha!"

  • by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3 @ g mail.com> on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:40PM (#44198427) Journal

    Though not quite as interesting as when the article was posted yesterday [slashdot.org].

    Rob

    • What I'm surprised at is that neither time was Minitel mentioned. France has been monitoring communications for a long, long time, and I thought everyone was OK with it.

  • Tinfoil time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PsychicX (866028) on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:41PM (#44198433)
    It's almost as if every country of note is running massive internet surveillance programs, is aware of everybody else's program, and is only using the leaks as an excuse to publicly complain about something everyone knows everyone else is doing.

    Nah, that would just be paranoid.
    • Re:Tinfoil time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:06PM (#44198705)

      Except for, you know, the public. The general public had no idea how ridiculous the surveillance was. I think everyone assumed there was some surveillance going on... but capturing everything? Really? At the tune of 80 billion a year? That money could go towards curing cancer or heart disease and they'd save a lot more lives than they ever will preventing the occasional terrorist attack, and it's doubtful they've actually prevented anything give that in most cases the perpetrators couldn't even find weapons or explosives without the undercover FBI agents offering to sell them the stuff.

      It's also telling the as soon as a government starts complaining about what the US is doing, their own surveillance programs are revealed. The US is clearly involved in a heavy game of public distraction. The medias pretty much dropped this story, likely at their request, and can conveniently cover what all the other countries are doing. It's staggering that these actions are being presented in any way that is even remotely considered acceptable. All of this is completely unconstitutional, government officials including the president (past and present) should be facing prison time.

      • Except for, you know, the public. The general public had no idea how ridiculous the surveillance was. I think everyone assumed there was some surveillance going on... but capturing everything? Really? At the tune of 80 billion a year? That money could go towards curing cancer or heart disease and they'd save a lot more lives than they ever will preventing the occasional terrorist attack, and it's doubtful they've actually prevented anything give that in most cases the perpetrators couldn't even find weapons or explosives without the undercover FBI agents offering to sell them the stuff.

        Emphasis mine
        I wonder if the justification, "But think of the *insert behavior you're discouraging here* we stopped with this!" was brought over from the MPAA/RIAA side of things first, or if they've simply got someone inside the NSA trying to find the pirates for them.

      • by alen (225700)

        are you dumb or naive?

        there is a book about how the NSA tapped the transatlantic fiber cable over a decade ago to snoop on communications. in the days of microwave WAN's the NSA used to be able to listen to everyone's phone calls

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Livius (318358)

        At the tune of 80 billion a year? That money could go towards curing cancer or heart disease and they'd save a lot more lives than they ever will preventing the occasional terrorist attack

        So, having conned taxpayers out of 80 billion a year, the military-industrial complex would just voluntarily hand it over to an actual productive sector of the economy for a constructive purpose?

      • Except for, you know, the public. The general public had no idea how ridiculous the surveillance was. I think everyone assumed there was some surveillance going on... but capturing everything? Really? At the tune of 80 billion a year? That money could go towards curing cancer or heart disease and they'd save a lot more lives than they ever will preventing the occasional terrorist attack, and it's doubtful they've actually prevented anything give that in most cases the perpetrators couldn't even find weapons or explosives without the undercover FBI agents offering to sell them the stuff.

        It's also telling the as soon as a government starts complaining about what the US is doing, their own surveillance programs are revealed. The US is clearly involved in a heavy game of public distraction. The medias pretty much dropped this story, likely at their request, and can conveniently cover what all the other countries are doing. It's staggering that these actions are being presented in any way that is even remotely considered acceptable. All of this is completely unconstitutional, government officials including the president (past and present) should be facing prison time.

        Come on, the NSA have just about complete access to the internet backbone, they were building datacenters and not even hiding it. There has been a wikipedia article on the one in Utah since 2011 and you could follow it's progress on Google maps courtesy of the NSA it self [gov1.info]. Your tax dollars at work. What did everybody think the NSA is doing with facilities like this? It's not hard, 1+1=2, massive datacenter + complete access to internet backbone = massive SIGINT operation.

    • Re:Tinfoil time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:12PM (#44198773)

      It's almost as if every country of note is running massive internet surveillance programs

      Maybe that's why Snowden is having such a hard time finding asylum. Everyone's doing it, nobody wants it public knowledge.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:48PM (#44198489) Homepage Journal

    Where we get Espionage from. Seems almost like they invented it, non?

    Spy program? I told them we already got one, it's verra nice!

    • Well, the French did give the US the Statue of Liberty. Maybe it is stuffed full of spy gear? Maybe nobody bothered to check it back then . . . ?

      Maybe French Intelligence services have been spying on all those immigrants back then, and all those tourists right now!

      • by Motard (1553251)

        Guillaume: Il est en Place ?

        Bertrand: Oui!

        Guillaume: Ce qui maintenant ?

        Bertrand: Nous attendre.

        Guillaume: Pour quoi?

        Bertrand (frotter les mains): Pour nos hommes à sauter et attaquer!

        Guillaume: que les hommes ?

        Bertrand: Oh mon dieu...

    • En soviétique France, le fromage sent-vous!

  • Mon Dieu de la Baguette!!!!!!

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      ... after the 5th time the Inspector informed the clerk he would like a 'ruuum' the carnation in the clerk's lapel came to life and in a shrill, buzzing voice shouted, "Il veut une chambre d'hôtel! Lui donner une! Petit imbécile!"

  • "Sacre bleu. You are trying to unlawfully obtain the data we have rightfully stolen!"

  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:02PM (#44198655) Journal

    ... what is everyone talking about that is so important for government to know about?

    Or is this just a part of a manipulation of the people feedback loop where government controlled media is the other part?

    • ... what is everyone talking about that is so important for government to know about?

      They want to know where to get cheap Viagra!

  • Private companies have set up their own spying operations. [slashdot.org] Bloomberg Financial is spying on Goldman Sachs. [businessinsider.com] and Murdoch is running saboteur operations [amazon.com] against his competitors. And these same people keep calling to tougher measures against hackers.It is as if the entire international power structure walked out of a Vladimir Voinovich [powells.com] novel. Sigh.
  • FTFA: "capable de gérer des dizaines de pétaoctets de données", translated as "capable of managing dozens of petaoctets of data".

    Chapeau! Got to praise the French for defending their language against foreign bytes ...

  • USA: "All countries, ok, we spy on you, but don't criticize us, you do that too"
    France: "Hey, that is unacceptable you must stop"
    USA: "Shut up France, we highly recommend you that"
    France: "YOU HAVE TO STOP!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE"
    USA: "NSA, could you give us some juicy information about France so they don't bitch about it so loud?"
    NSA: "Oh yes, here you are."
  • by Tim12s (209786)

    The fact that one exists results in the need for at least two. "Green peace" type folks may think that this can be "rioted" out of existance however then, only bad men will have guns. What is better is to advocate more effective and honest control and oversight of the use of these facilities. The key is anti-corruption through civilized morals. Where there is no moral backbone within society then there is no effective ability to even comprehend effective oversight and it quickly the world turns to dog-e

  • Small differences (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:38PM (#44199021) Homepage Journal
    They do only with what comes in and out of France. In the other hand, US hacks foreign companies [scmp.com] to get information on everyone, no matter where. And probably in France https worth something, but for US services the information must be given to the government in a silver plate by the companies (that is what PRISM is all about, after all) . And, of course, is US who defines hacking as act of war [washingtonexaminer.com].

    So this is a mostly unilateral war, and you could see the monitoring that could do some other countries mostly as self-defense.

    The point is that people from all the world should care about what the US is doing (because affects everyone) while French (and a small fraction of other countries) people should care also about what they government do. Also, I don't see France putting in jail or doing a massive international manhunt for the people working for Le Monde, violating every international treaty and convention doing so, as US is doing (and forcing their allies to do) with Assange and Snowden, we are just past the point of absolute corruption, and seeing the first hints of what is coming in the next years.

    • Don't kid yourself. Of course the richest and possibly most technically advanced nation also as the biggest and most technically advance tech spying program.

      But don't doubt for once instant that every Nation of any aspirations is doing this kind of stuff. No intelligence agency on the planet, none, zero, has any qualms about spying on anyone through the Internet (outside some extremely close allies with information sharing agreements). Local laws may protect their own citizens a little bit, but that is a

      • by gmuslera (3436)

        Pushing it as "the new normal" dont make it justifiable, is like saying that is right that your operating system must have a blue screen every hour or widespread virus and you must keep buying it because sometimes other operating systems could have them rarely. Doing it, while putting civilians for decades [slashdot.org] or even centuries [vice.com] is just yelling that you don't care about what is fair or not, you just do what you want, you are the biggest bully in the neightbourhood after all.

        So keep defending the big bully, with

        • But I am not pushing it as the new normal but stating that it is in fact the old normal with new technology. Nations are doing to new data services exactly what they have been doing to old data services. And I am sure it has been my turn all along.

          I imagine that in theory there would be a way to objectively measure which country is the biggest bully in espionage. But it is kind of hard to measure since so much of it is secret. Doesn't China load spyware on computers that come through customs? Doesn't

          • by gmuslera (3436)

            Is not about countries, is about governments, specially the ones that claim that are elected by the people. The key there is trust.

            I administer servers (in particular, mail and proxy ones, to talk about the easiest ones where you can harm privacy) from almost 20 years. In all that time i had access to all the mails of all the people on those servers. When i was hired for that job, i've been trusted with that access, and was up to me to deserve or not that trust, regardless if anyone ever discover that i pe

            • I administer mail servers also and every time the subject comes up I warn everyone that the communications on the server can and likely will be searched by some disclosure request. I also warn them not to take laptops to other countries, I warn them about attaching security systems to the corporate network. Frankly I am a giant pill.

              I too try to do my job in a trustworthy manner.

              I guess I don't really trust any government, or company or independent hacker. Or maybe I trust them to do exactly what I think

              • by gmuslera (3436)

                Having 500k to 5m people [salon.com] that can access all information stored in your servers you feel safe? You may trust one or 2 people you know, but that amount of apples should have more than a few bad apples, and knowing how the environment rots the apple, that number could be pretty high. And that access could be used to do ip theft (REAL ip theft, as in copyrighting, patenting, trademarking or whatever thing you discussed in private and that you wont be able to use anymore), blackmailing (from up top to lower bot

  • From the country that brought us the Cabinet Noir, this is surprising how?

  • Toutes vos données sont appartiennent à nous!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mr. Hollande is 'Caught Red Handed.' Will Mr. Hollande resign now that the peoples of France know well that he is a lair and thief and worse.

    The espionage technologies of USA, France and UK are acts of crimes against humanity.

    But look at Mr. Bon KI Moon! Mr. Snowden showed Mr. Moon that the offices and apartments of Mr. Moon are bugged with video recording and sound devices and his cell phone and office phone and apartment phones are bugged. NSA is watching him anywhere on the planet 23/7/365.

    How many child

  • by davmoo (63521) on Friday July 05, 2013 @09:19PM (#44200367)

    You show me someone who says their country does not spy on its citizens, and I'll show you a fool. And you show me someone who says their country does not spy on other countries, and I'll show you another fool.

    Governments have been spying on their own citizens since the day "governments" were born. And that first government started spying on other governments the day the second one was born nearby.

    Does this make it right? No, of course not. Two wrongs, as they say, do not make a right (but three rights make a left). But I'm getting a bit tired of all this "My country is better than yours because it doesn't spy" bullshit. Grow up. Your country spies just like mine does.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Governments have been spying on their own citizens since the day "governments" were born.

      Some of their own citizens some of the time sure. All of them all of the time? No.

      Your country spies just like mine does.

      Maybe. Maybe not. I'm sure it spies. I'm certainly not sure it spies as much as yours does.

  • This is a dup, and as I already commented in the other one, there is an intent here. That program is known for some time and the goal is to minimize Snowden's revelations so that everyone forgets him.

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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