France's Intelligence Agency's headquarters can be seen on Google Maps.
Why didn’t French president François Hollande join the storm of criticism from EU member countries when it was revealed that the United States’ PRISM electronic surveillance program was spying on all internet traffic passing through the US? Perhaps because he knew that France has a similar program, alleges French newspaper Le Monde.
“All of our communications are spied on,” reports Le Monde, citing unnamed intelligence sources. Data is gathered by the DGSE, France’s intelligence agency, and stored on a supercomputer capable of handling “tens of millions of gigabytes,” which is housed in the basement of the DGSE’s headquarters.
The DGSE is known as “the firm” (la boîte) in France, and the Paris building that houses it nicknamed “the swimming pool” (la piscine—it happens to be near a competition swimming complex.) Some spies who work for the organization (link in French) call it “the service” (le service.) Notably, while the DGSE is currently blurred out on the satellite view of Google Maps, as of February 2011 its distinctive shape was clearly visible.