The French “Big brother” law has been passed

The French “Big brother” law has been passed

The military program law (LPM) has just been officially published on December 19th after being accepted by the Senate.

This limits actions from the opponents to the law, including MPs who challenge one of this law articles that provides broader access to internet data by the public authorities. “This article raised much concerns among the society, even beyond political boundaries” says Barbara Pompili and François de Rugy, who are co-chairing the Green party MP group, who said they were ready to support an appeal, regardless of the party who would have launched it.

“Despite the intense civic engagement and commitment of 48 members to speak publicly on internet freedoms, an appeal at the Constitutional Council will not take place due to political wrangling,” condemns the digital Renaissance group.

Article 20 of this Law broadens internet data access held by Internet service providers and hosting field, hitherto limited to the fight against terrorism, fight against crime and organized crime. It raises serious challenges to the telecom players and digital, which strongly questioned the introduction of an administrative access to connection data held by ISPs and hosting companies.

This article also addresses the geolocation of mobile devices, which would be possible not only to fight against terrorism but also in case of economic espionage or to monitor the recovery of dissolved groups.

Various organizations, including the French Federation of Telecom, the French employers or the Association of Community Internet Services ( ASIC) have expressed strong concerns .

From a legal point of view, it seems, however, that the reason is more on the side of the opponents to the text. “The article in question transforms and expands emergency measures in common law rule without providing independent oversight of data collection,” says Garance Mathias, a lawyer specialized in new technologies.

If a system exception is limited in time, so this law registers new measures in the legislative body for an indefinite period. In this sense, it is more pernicious than the “Big Brother ” created by the U.S. Patriot Act, which expires in 2015.

The new system of electronic data collection will not, however, be applied overnight. First, a decree shall be published in 2014. These additional texts, however, will not change much to the law. “This will clarify administrative order that will not change the spirit of the law is that Parliament has agreed to solely in the hands of the executive the power to conduct all data collection,” says Garance Mathias. Decrees cannot provide, for example, a judicial review of the cyber data monitoring.

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