On Tuesday a joint committee of French MPs and senators reached agreement on the final content of the controversial surveillance law, the 'loi renseignement', effectively guaranteeing that it will come into force this summer. The measure is one of the most intrusive laws of its kind anywhere in Europe, giving the French security forces wide-ranging powers to snoop on the population. Yet though the legislation has been bitterly opposed by civil liberties groups, judges, administrative bodies and sections of the digital community, it has been voted through by members of the French Parliament amid general public indifference. Mathieu Magnaudeix reports.
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.