French prosecutors probe US surveillance scandal – report
MOSCOW, August 29 (RAPSI) - French prosecutors have launched a preliminary probe into the NSA PRISM surveillance program that was exposed to the world by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The Paris prosecutor’s office reportedly explained that it had ordered a preliminary investigation into a variety of charges including the willful violation of private life.
According to the report, two human rights groups – the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the French Human Rights League (LDH) – had formally complained in July of the surveillance methods revealed by the Snowden leaks.
On July 15, the FIDH released a statement on its website announcing that it had teamed up with the LDH to file a complaint for the infringement of personal data with the Public Prosecutor for Paris’ Tribunal de Grande Instance.
According to the statement, the organizations filed the complaint on the basis of various articles of France’s criminal code pertaining to: “fraudulent access to an automated data processing system, collection of personal data by fraudulent means, [willful] violation of the intimacy of the private life and the use and conservation of recordings and documents obtained through such means.”
Snowden has dominated international headlines in recent months after claiming responsibility for leaking top-secret documents to The Guardian, detailing the National Security Agency's (NSA) capacity to access the systems of major US companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.
As explained by the FIDH, “PRISM – which tracks half a billion communications per month – essentially seeks to use keywords to discover not only the origin of a private message but also to identify its intended recipient and its content, irrespective of the technical means used to transmit the message.”
Reuters reported that during the preliminary investigation phase, police merely seek to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to justify a formal investigation.