Today, FIDH and LDH filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris against unknown person in relation to the facts revealed by Mr. Edward Snowden. (See also recent Press Release : International protection for whistleblowers should be increased)
FIDH and LDH, acting on the grounds of their organisation’s mandate that includes the fight against infringements of personal liberties through automated data processing and on the grounds of their personal harm, have filed this complaint on the basis of articles 323-1, 226-18, 226-1 and 226-2 of the French Criminal Code.
These articles refer to fraudulent access to an automated data processing system, collection of personal data by fraudulent means, wilful violation of the intimacy of the private life and the use and conservation of recordings and documents obtained through such means.
The information given to the press by Mr. Edward Snowden has revealed the existence of an American programme called PRISM (Planning Tool for Resource Integration Synchronization and Management) that collects data from servers of various Internet service providers (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltalk, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple).
Under the guise of combatting terrorism and organised crime, this system for intercepting personal data of both American citizens and foreign individuals and associations has enabled the NSA and the FBI to collect material data kept on the servers of the aforementioned companies. This includes the history of Internet searches and connections on the web, the contents of emails, audio and video communications, photo files, document transfers and the contents of online chats.
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.
This blatant intrusion into individuals’ lives represents a serious threat to individual liberties and, if not stopped, may lead to the end of the rule of law.
FIDH and LDH are therefore triggering the French justice so that a judicial investigation into these incidents is opened.