Orange Telecom company grants full data access to French intelligence

Pierluigi Paganini March 22, 2014

The Orange telecom company is providing its data to France intelligence agency, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure.

The name of Orange Telecom operator is again under discussion after the giant has threatened to sue the NSA for hacking into the underwater cableLast revelations are not on the NSA operations, instead the leaked documents report that Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) has complete access the data of telecom operator Orange.

Edward Snowden files are a never-ending story, a mine of information on the methods adopted by governments to spy on allies and adversaries, be aware the access granted to DGSE is unconditional and not related only to metadata, but to the overall data managed by Orange Telecom company. Orange Telecom company has more than 26 million customers worldwide and the French government owns a 27% stake in the company.

The news was reported by the French paper Le Monde which confirmed that the Orange telecom cooperated allegedly illegally for years, probably more that 30 years, with the French intelligence agency.

Orange Telecom support French Gov surveillance 2

The Orange CEO Stéphane Richard declared to the media that he wasn’t aware of how DGSE is processing the data his company provides, the only responsibility of the company is to grant access to Orange to comply with the law.

Just a week ago the French Diplomacy was disturbed by the exposure of the wiretap scandal of French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy phone calls.

The documents leaked described the French spying machine quite similar to the US one, apart some significant differences, a system with many similarities with PRISM was used by the French intelligence agency for surveillance purposes.

the relationship between France Telecom and the DGSE is not the same as that found in the NSA’s PRISM programme, which has contractual relationships with internet giants,”  “There is no formalisation of this cooperation between the DGSE and France Telecom-Orange.” said a former French intelligence chief.

The DGSE is able to spy on phone communications and is able to siphon data from the Internet of netizens. The French Agency acquires emails and data from the principal tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Once again, the bad news is that these companies have always denied any collaboration with Secret Services and Intelligence agencies worldwide. According last revelations the French DGSE also shares this data with foreign allies like the British GCHQ.

“As is the case for all operators, Orange has relations with the French state’s services that are responsible for national security. This relationship takes place within a strict legal framework, under the responsibility of the state and appropriate legal control by judges,” said a spokesperson of the Orange telecom company.

France government in the past claimed US Intelligence agency for cyber espionage but recent revelation are increasingly wearing out its credibility.

The Le Monde report also revealed that France Intelligence is conducting massive collection of data on both French population and foreigners.

“It is used by the DGSE, which puts it at the disposal of all French intelligence agencies under the pooling of technical information and its database,” stated the paper.

The only certainty we have is that most of the governments acted as the NSA in conducting surveillance programs with the support of private companies.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Orange Telecom, surveillance)

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