The terrorist attacks in Paris that have left at least 129 dead and hundreds wounded on Friday evening were committed by Islamists whose activities were apparently ignored by the French security services. Yet in the wake of the January attacks in Paris, French intelligence services were promised more financial and manpower resources, and this summer they were handed vast new intrusive surveillance powers. So just why is it that they appear to be overwhelmed by the jihadist threat? Michel Deléan and Louise Fessard report.
The French Parliament this week formally adopted a new anti-terrorism law, part of which aims to stop terrorists using the internet to attract recruits and plot attacks. It will allow the authorities to block websites that “condone terrorism” and will create a new offence of “individual terrorist enterprise”. One key objective is to stop the “preparation” of attacks via the web. The government, which has rushed these measures through, says they are needed to combat the growing use of the internet and social media by terror groups and in particular to tackle the threat of so-called “lone wolf” terrorists operating in France and elsewhere. But civil liberties groups, judges and the state body that oversees the impact of digital technology have condemned the law as an attack on freedom, ineffective and unworkable. Jérôme Hourdeaux details the new measures.