FIDH and LDH file two new judicial complaints seeking to shed light on surveillance practices

Yesterday FIDH and LDH filed a new complaint as civil parties before the Paris Court, hoping to shed light on the alleged violations of individual freedoms stemming from the PRISM programme.

FIDH and LDH, which had already filed a simple complaint on 11 July 2013 to this effect, decided to file a new complaint due to the inaction of the Paris Prosecutor. Despite having begun a preliminary investigation 18 months ago, the Prosecutor has still not disclosed what action he intends to take regarding this matter.

Under the guise of the fight against terrorism and organized crime, the PRISM programme was used to intercept the private data of United States citizens as well as foreign organisations and individuals. This system enabled the NSA and the FBI to collect material data hosted on the servers of participating companies, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltalk, Facebook, Youtube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. These data included Internet search histories, connection records, e-mail content, audio and video communications, photo files, document transfers, and the content of online chats.

The data collection system revealed by Edward Snowden was unanimously condemned by the international community. However, since then, no independent investigation has been conducted to determine the extent and consequences of the programme in terms of the violation of privacy.

Furthermore, in 2013, press reports revealed that the French intelligence services may have collected a massive amount of data outside of any legal framework. It was these revelations that led FIDH and LDH to file a complaint against X on 26 December 2014 before the Paris Court targeting those responsible in the French intelligence services.

This complaint was filed based on articles 323-1, 226-18, 226-1 and 226-2 of the French Penal Code. These provisions relate to the charges of fraudulent access to a computer system, the collection of personal data by fraudulent means, the willful violation of privacy and the use and preservation of records and documents obtained by the invasion of privacy.

At a time when the French Parliament is considering an intelligence bill that will legalise practices hitherto illegal that deserve to be sanctioned, we believe it is urgent that these serious violation of individual liberties be brought before the French courts," said Patrick Baudouin, lawyer and Honorary President of FIDH.

This uncontrolled intrusion into our lives is seriously harmful to individual freedoms and must be stopped, at the risk of destroying the rule of law, said Michel Tubiana, lawyer and honorary president of LDH.

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