France Is Hemorrhaging Sensitive Data, And People Are Beginning To Notice

Security failings, including a series of leaks of sensitive information, are bedeviling French officials, who fear the country is failing to protect its security forces from criminal gangs, terrorist groups and hostile foreign powers.

The most recent case was revealed last week when a top aide to Parliament was arrested and charged with spying for North Korea. That case came after a French intelligence officer was charged with selling confidential information to organized crime groups, an ISIS member was found with a thumb drive loaded with confidential information about 7,000 French police officers, and recently unsealed documents revealed that a French police officer had helped obtain a fake ID that was used to help raise money for a ring that provided financing to the suspected organizer of the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

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Other incidents include revelations that an analyst for the French domestic intelligence service, known by its initials as the DGSI, used his work resources to sell confidential information to both organized crime groups and to as yet unidentified foreign economic intelligence collectors. After the analyst’s arrest in September, it was revealed that the transactions were done using contacts through the anonymous browsing service Tor in exchange for cryptocurrency payments, often as little as $35 per tracked phone number.

In another incident this spring, a French police officer was charged with losing track of a USB drive that contained huge amounts of personal information of police officers.

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“They haven’t done shit to protect us,” said the police official, who has worked undercover in the past. “We have enormous numbers of people to investigate for links to al Qaida and [ISIS] and since the [November 2015] Bataclan attacks [that killed 130 people around Paris] we have worked in high priority to collect information and stop future plots, but that can’t be done if civil servants are losing track of databases containing our home addresses, or if intelligence analysts are selling top secret information to the mafia, or even spying for North Korea.


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