Two human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in Paris seeking an investigation into whether the US National Security Agency violated French privacy laws by secretly collecting massive amounts of personal data.
The legal complaint against persons unknown aims to prompt a judicial investigation that would also look at the alleged role of tech companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype in data-gathering by the NSA.
The France-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights League based the complaint on disclosures by the NSA leaker Edward Snowden which indicated that the US government amassed phone and internet usage data on people around the world for security reasons.
Lawyers for the two groups said that such surveillance, if confirmed, would violate up to five French privacy laws, including illicit collection of personal data and the infringement of the right to a private life.
Patrick Baudouin, of the FIDH, estimated that thousands of French people may be regularly targeted by the surveillance. He said that although the lawsuit was limited to French jurisdiction, he hoped it could lead to wider pressure on the US.
Read more: NSA surveillance: French human rights groups seek judicial investigation | World news | guardian.co.uk