Brussels, Belgium – Earlier today, the French National Assembly, the lower Chamber of the French Parliament, adopted the controversial Surveillance bill – Proposition de loi relative aux mesures de surveillance des communications électroniques internationales. This bill follows the Intelligence law passed in June 2015, and is set for a further vote by the French Senate this month. The bill has met with significant opposition from NGOs and digital rights groups who point out that it institutionalises privacy infringement with little regard for established democratic discourse.
“Access denounces the approval of this privacy invasive bill,” said Estelle Massé, Policy Analyst at Access. “France needs to remember its human rights obligations. This is the second time in a single year that the country has introduced disproportionate surveillance measures.”
The French Constitutional Court has already struck down provisions in the preceding Intelligence law that authorised the surveillance of communications in third countries, declaring that such provisions are unconstitutional. The new Surveillance bill adopted today seeks to rebrand and re-authorise these surveillance programmes, thereby allowing for the indiscriminate mass surveillance of millions of individuals in France and abroad. The bill proposes no mechanism for independent oversight and control, instead placing only ex post authority in the hands of the French Prime Minister. Further, the provisions of the Surveillance bill that set out lengthy data retention periods are in direct contradiction to the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that invalidated the Data Retention Directive.
“Passage of this bill confirms a worrying trend in the French digital policy towards policing the web and its users,” added Massé. “There is a stark contradiction between the French government’s outrage over being subject to surveillance and passing legislation that grants the DGSE the same kind of indiscriminate spying powers as the NSA.”
Access strongly urges representatives from the French Senate to reject this proposal and prevent further human rights abuses.
Policy Analyst, Access Now
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