French rights groups are to file a criminal complaint Thursday in a bid to uncover the roles played by Internet giants in the widespread spying revealed by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Lawyers said the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights League would file the 'complaint against X' in Paris.

Under French law, such complaints allow investigators to pursue a wide-ranging probe that does not target any particular individual or company.

One of the lawyers for the two groups, Emmanuel Daoud, said the complaint would be aimed at determining whether companies including Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook and Apple cooperated with US authorities in their intelligence-gathering operations.

Snowden, a former IT contractor at the National Security Agency who is holed up at Moscow's airport to escape charges in the United States, said the NSA had gathered vast amounts of users' private Internet data from Facebook and other Internet giants.

Daoud told France Info radio the complaint was aimed at determining whether "the companies made their servers available to the FBI and NSA" for collection of personal data.

If so, he said, the companies could face criminal charges in France of violating data protection and privacy rules.