PARIS — The French government castigated the United States on Monday for carrying out extensive electronic eavesdropping within France, the latest diplomatic backlash against the National Security Agency's wide surveillance net.
The Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador, Charles Rivkin, who met with ministry officials after an article Monday in Le Monde, the authoritative French newspaper, said that the NSA had scooped up 70 million digital communications inside France in a single month, from Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013.
French officials demanded that the spying cease.
"These kinds of practices between partners are totally unacceptable and we must be assured that they are no longer being implemented," Rivkin was told, according to a ministry spokesman, Alexandre Giorgini.
The same language was used late Monday in a statement from President François Hollande describing what he had said in an earlier telephone conversation with President Barack Obama.
However, in a signal that some of the French rhetoric may have been aimed at the government's domestic audience, France did not call this episode a breach of sovereignty, as Brazil did last month after similar revelations.
Le Monde did not make entirely clear what the NSA had swept up. It said documents indicated that in addition to tracking communications between people suspected of having links to terrorism, the NSA surveillance program might have targeted communications involving prominent figures in the worlds of business, politics or the French administration.
The disclosures were based on secret documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor whose decision to leak information about the surveillance programs has set off a global debate on the balance between security and privacy.
On Sunday, Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, reported that the NSA had intercepted communications inside the Cabinet of the former Mexican president, Felipe Calderon.
Previous disclosures from the documents leaked by Snowden had already pulled the veil off NSA spying on other allies, including Germany, Britain and Brazil.
The article in Le Monde came as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on Monday for talks on a possible peace process for Syria and discussions on Iran's nuclear program.