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Phone tapping becoming a problem in France

29 November 2010, by — admin ()

The French press are reporting on public disquiet concerning mass telephone conversation tapping. A lot of politicians and journalists are openly declaring that their telephones were tapped.

Phone tapping is officially illegal in France, but many organisations involved in economic espionage often use their capabilities for other aims. For example, phone tapping politicians.

In addition, today functional equipment and software for illegal phone tapping are available to all. Both can be easily bought over the internet.

Like in most European countries, in France there are two kinds of legal phone tapping.

The first kind is tapping authorised by court representatives as part of a criminal investigation. This does not cover Members of Parliament or lawyers and about 30 000 such authorisations are given each year.
The second kind is phone tapping authorised by the Prime Minister’s service and the National Commission for the Control of Security Intercepts in order to guarantee public security. The aim is to prevent terrorist attacks, fight organised crime etc. No more than 5000 such authorisations are given each year.

All other types of phone tapping belong to a third category, illegal.

Phone tapping software and equipment is now becoming easier to obtain. Despite phone tapping being illegal, such devices can be ordered on the internet at relatively little expense, from only 100 Euros.

This means that this kind of spying is available to almost everyone in Europe. Of course nobody has, or could have, statistics on illegal phone tapping, however the few statistics on sales of devices suggest that most buyers are not spies and not politicians. They are mostly:

  • jealous husbands and wives, checking on each other,
  • parents, controlling their children,
  • business managers, protecting commercial secrets from disclosure.

Even in 2007, during the election campaign, both Nicolas Sarkozy and his opponent Dominique de Villepin refused to speak about business on the phone in case their conversations were tapped.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffaran even now does not touch on important matters in phone conversations, and Alain Juppé, ex-Prime Minister and current Mayor of Bordeaux, does not use mobile phones at all.

However, there are other politicians with other positions. For example, Dominique de Villepin, ex-Prime Minister, as a matter of principle, does not take any precautions, thereby showing his political openness.

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