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France launches investigation into Prism spy programme

Whistleblower Edward Snowden (2nd L) at Moscow airport earlier this month
Whistleblower Edward Snowden (2nd L) at Moscow airport earlier this month Reuters/Rossiya 24/Handout via Reuters
2 min

French prosecutors are investigating allegations of US spying in France under the Prism surveillance programme, following complaints by two Paris-based international human rights groups.

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The preliminary investigation into fraudulent access to personal data was launched on 16 July, officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden suggest US authorities in the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation could access personal data all over the world, including France, via common online applications.

Campaigners in the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights laid complaints with the French judicial authorities that have led to the investigation.

They hope the investigators shed more light on how the spying was able to happen, Jeanne Warnet, a lawyer for the International Federation of Human Rights in Paris, told RFI.

The complaint also targets the role played by Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltak, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple in the alleged espionage.

The companies could face criminal charges for violating data protection and privacy rules, if they are found to have collaborated with the alleged snooping.

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