The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have the French government up in arms: the spying agency collected data on seven million calls and texts a day in the land of fine wine and cheese.
That’s according to a dossier published by Le Monde on Monday.
The files reveal that the NSA had two spying operations running to capture French phone calls under the code names “DRTBOX” and “WHITEBOX”. Between December 10, 2012 to January 8, 2013, French citizens’ “telephone data” was logged in 70.3 million records by the agency for analysis: making a call in France is enough to trigger a recording of the conversation, we’re told. Uncle Sam’s spooks also intercepted text messages and kept logs of who was contacting whom.
The documents show the NSA, at its peak on Christmas Eve 2012, intercepted seven million French calls and texts a day – perhaps checking who had been naughty or nice – but that surveillance dropped to zero between December 28 and 31. That’s possibly because the NSA was at the time waiting for Congress to approve its latest spying operations under Section 702 of the Patriot Act. The average interception rate was three million records a day.