The French Ministry of Interior has a new interception platform
(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)
On 2 May 2007 a new technical platform for the interception of traffic data in all types of communication systems was discretly put into operation by the French Ministry of Interior, covering communication data related to text messages, mobile or Internet.
The security services are now in the position of knowing who has contacted whom, when and where and, by a simple click, they can obtain from the telephone operators the list of all calls from and to a subscriber. They can obtain the subscription documents of the respective person with address and bank information and can also require all the Internet sites or forum addresses the respective person has accessed.
The authorised services may require such kind of information from Uclat (Coordination unit of the anti-terror fight) that manages the technical centre located in the new headquarters of the security services of the national police of Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine), under the supervision of IGPN (The General Inspection of the National Police).
This comes as a direct result of the Sarkozy law adopted on 23 January 2006 in an emergency procedure, to prevent terrorist acts, after being found constitutional by the French Constitutional Council. The text of the law states that Internet Service Providers, Internet cafes, hosting providers and operators must communicate the traffic data, called numbers, IP addresses to specialised services in case of investigations related to suspect terrorist activities.
The law has created serious concerns to the public freedom advocates as well as to the magistrates as the procedure doesn't need the involvement of judges and ignores guarantees related to public freedoms.
Since the entering into operation of the new technical platform on 2 May, the centre has already dealt with 300 requests per week made mostly by DST (Direction de la surveillance du territoire) and RG (Renseignement Generaux). According to an estimation, the platform should be able to address about 20 000 requests per year.
The French justice system is, in its turn, creating its own national platform that will be finalised by the end of 2008 - beginning of 2009 to intercept SMSs and record phonecalls, not only for terrorism cases. Although France is not in the worst position in Europe as concerning data interceptions being surpassed by Italy, the Netherlands or Germany, the tendency is obviously towards an increase of the control by the authorities.
The anti-terrorism spies mails and text messages as well (only in French,
EDRI-gram: IRIS protest against delay French government (20.10.2004)
EDRI-gram: France adopts anti-terrorism law (18.01.2006)
EDRI-gram: French anti-terrorism law not anti-constitutional (2.02.2006)