France's planned surveillance law: an attack on freedom


The French government is rushing through a bill which will give wide-ranging powers to security and intelligence officials to snoop on the nation's citizens. The measure, dubbed by some the French version of America's Patriot Act, will allow spies to tap phones and emails without obtaining permission from judges. It will also allow agents to bug suspects’ homes with microphones and cameras and add covert software to their computers to track every letter and word they type. France's lower house of Parliament, the National Assembly, will hold its final vote on the draft legislation on May 5th. Though the government has sought to justify the proposed law as a necessary tool in the fight against terrorism, the surveillance bill has met with unanimous opposition from civil liberties groups, administrative bodies and the internet community. Editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel here explains why Mediapart is so passionately opposed to this “wicked” law and urges people to join the public protest against it which is planned for Monday May 4th.

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An attack on our fundamental freedoms is in process. Its authors are the people who govern us, ranged around its principal author, prime minister Manuel Valls, and include the minister of justice, Christiane Taubira, whose profound silence on the issue can be taken for approval. Their accomplices are those elected officials who represent us, from Left and Right, and who, with rare and brave exceptions, are hastening to approve this official crime to the point of making it worse with their legislative zeal.