International criticism of the National Security Agency (NSA) is growing as the French government demanded an explanation from the U.S. on Monday about how the agency reportedly collected 70.3 million phone records of French citizens, politicians and business officials in a 28-day period.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoned the U.S. ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, for "immediate" talks about the data collection on Monday, France24 reports.
The NSA automatically recorded French conversations when certain numbers were used and collected text messages that included certain keywords, according to a report in France-based Le Monde Monday. The people targeted included those who were not suspected of terrorism. The report cited classified NSA documents covering the period between Dec. 10, 2012, and Jan 7, 2013, which were leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the agency.
"This sort of practice between partners that invades privacy is totally unacceptable and we have to make sure, very quickly, that this no longer happens," Fabius said on Monday during a meeting in Luxembourg with other European diplomats, CBS News reports.
This inquiry into surveillance occurred as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on Monday to discuss a peace between Israel and Palestine.
Since Snowden's documents were first published in June, reports have detailed the NSA's bulk collection of Internet data and phone records of the citizens and even political leaders of other countries including Brazil, which also prompted that nation to criticize the agency's surveillance.
The NSA has also collected email messages from politicians in Mexico including former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, according to a report on Sunday in German-based Der Spiegel.
"This practice is unacceptable, illegitimate and contrary to Mexican law and international law," Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said in a statement responding to the report about the surveillance, according to CBS News.