France investigates US spying program

French prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into a US spying program codenamed PRISM following complaints from human rights groups in France.

The Paris prosecutorâ„¢s office launched a probe on July 16 into the US spy agencyâ„¢s illegal access to personal email and phone communications of French citizens following a legal complaint by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the League of Human Rights (LDH), according to AFP.

The complaint filed by the groups also targets giant tech companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltak, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple. The purpose is to reveal if they have provided the NSA and the FBI with access to their servers, said Emmanuel Daoud, a lawyer for the two groups.

PRISM is a spying program which is said to help the NSA track the use of US-based web servers by people around the world and provide the US governmentâ„¢s premier spy agency with easy access to nine of the worldâ„¢s top Internet companies.

Daoud said if investigations prove such accusations, the companies will face criminal charges in France for violating data protection and privacy rules.

The result of the preliminary investigation would determine whether a formal investigation will be launched into the allegations that the NSA has violated privacy rules in France.

Personal and diplomatic privacy violations by the NSA shocked Europe after the massive surveillance operations by the US spy agency was uncovered in June, when former US intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked two top secret US spying programs, under which the NSA and the FBI are spying on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies.

A recent poll conducted by Germanyâ„¢s Emnid institute found that 78 percent of German people were worried about US surveillance of their electronic communications.

The 30-year-old NSA leaker, who was granted political asylum in Russia on August 1, is wanted in the United States, where he faces charges of Å“espionage” and Å“theft of government property.”

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Republished from: Press TV