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.
The game of diplomatic bluff played out in the row between the Unites States and Russia over the asylum offered to former NSA computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden disguises an essential issue that concerns all of us, writes Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel. That issue, he argues here, is how a ‘state of exception’, symbolized by the US Patriot Act and which cites supposed security concerns above the just rule of law, is surreptitiously extending its already vast power amid hitherto widespread indifference. A battle is on to force its retreat, and it is being fought here, on the internet.