France Surveillance Rules: New French Spying Rules Get Support From Parliament

May 6, 2015 | By The SpreadIt Reporter More

France has gotten closer to approving new surveillance rules. The measures backed by the European country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls still face two major hurdles, but the adoption of new French spying rules could signal a significant shift in a culture that has resisted for a very long time the siren call of increased national security in a post 9-11 world.

France surveillance rules

France’s mass-scale surveillance bill is moving forward. On Tuesday, the lower house of the French Parliament voted 438 to 86 (42 refused to pick a side) to approve new surveillance rules. If the new French spying rules go into effect, they will update a 1991 law that Prime Minister Manuel Valls describes as outdated in light of the terror threat that the country is facing and the rise of technology.

The mass-scale surveillance bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to get approved. Before it becomes a reality, the Constitutional Council of France, which is the highest constitutional authority in the country, will also have to see if the law conforms with the French Constitution. According to the BBC, the bill aims to accomplish three primary goals:

– Define the purposes for which secret intelligence-gathering may be used
– Set up a supervisory body, the National Commission for Control of Intelligence Techniques (CNCTR), with wider rules of operation
– Authorize new methods, such as the bulk collection of metadata via internet providers.

New French spying rules were already being worked on before the Paris terrorist attacks of January that left 17 people dead. Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, and a Jewish grocery store were violently attacked by Muslim extremists with ties to ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Those events led to some real soul searching for the country that was founded on liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Some French citizens opposed the bill because they think the government is reacting in the same fashion as the Bush administration did in America after 9-11 with the Patriot Act. Those critics include judges and lawyers who believe that a massive invasion of privacy will ensue despite what Mr. Valls is claiming. Head of the Paris bar association Pierre-Olivier Sur told The New York Times:

“It is a state lie. This project was presented to us as a way to protect France against terrorism, and if that were the case, I would back it. But it is being done to put in place a sort of Patriot Act concerning the activities of each and everyone.”

Others believe that the measures are not even necessary, and the government is just using the terrorist attacks to grab more power. Those voices also say that the debate was shortened, and some of their concerns regarding civil liberties were not heard since the two biggest political parties in the country supported the measures.

However, the majority of the political class think that increased surveillance is the only efficient way to protect the country from terror threats. Those politicians predict that measures like this one will soon become the norm in the Western World.

What are thoughts on France’s new surveillance rules?

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