Menu
French lawmakers take first step toward gathering all communications metadata

French lawmakers take first step toward gathering all communications metadata

The French National Assembly agreed to let spies gather data about phone calls and Internet use

French lawmakers have taken a first step toward allowing real-time surveillance of Internet and mobile phone use in France.

Following attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a supermarket in Paris in January, the government rushed out a bill that will allow French intelligence services to collect communications metadata on the entire country's phone calls and Internet traffic, in some cases installing their own equipment on operators' networks. On Tuesday, the French National Assembly approved the bill by 438 votes to 86.

The proposed surveillance measures have encountered opposition from many quarters: Internet service providers, civil liberties groups, and even an association of motorcyclists, concerned about the potential for government monitoring of lobby groups.

Some of the country's Internet service and hosting providers said last month that they might have to leave the country in order to avoid losing customers if the bill becomes law. They don't want French intelligence services to adopt the same tactics as the U.S. National Security Agency, gathering up all the traffic it can in the hope that it will find something useful in it later.

Lawmakers and citizens will have little opportunity to debate the French bill. The French government, by declaring the bill "urgent," ensured that each house of the French parliament will only read it once, rather than shuttling it back and forth until they reach agreement on a text. It still faces a number of obstacles before it can become law, though: If the upper house of the French Parliament, the Senate, approves the bill, then a joint committee of the Senate and Assembly will iron out any differences between the texts voted by the two houses. Finally, the Constitutional Council is likely to be called on to strike out any provisions it deems unconstitutional.

Peter Sayer covers general technology breaking news for IDG News Service, with a special interest in open source software and related European intellectual property legislation. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITFrench National Assemblysecuritylegislationgovernmentinternetprivacy

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Show Comments