• France's news in English

French spy bill cleared despite UN criticism

The Local/AFP · 24 Jul 2015, 10:27

Published: 24 Jul 2015 10:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The UN's Committee for Human Right's warned against the "excessively broad surveillance powers" that have been granted to French intelligence services.
The 18-strong committee is responsible for reviewing compliance with the obligations imposed by the International Covenant on civil and political rights
"The committee is concerned by the powers granted to the intelligence services on digital monitoring inside and outside France," said the committee.
The statement continued: "The committee is particularly concerned that the law on military planning and the law on intelligence, grant overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of hardly defined broad objectives, without prior authorisation of a judge and without adequate and independent oversight mechanism."
The law has been touted by the government as a vital update to ageing regulations dating back to pre-Internet days, and was overwhelmingly passed by lawmakers from both left and right, though  with dissident voices among almost every political group.
Although it had been in the pipeline for some time, the proposed law gained added support in the wake of the jihadist attacks in Paris in January that left 17 people dead.
The new French law allows authorities to spy on the digital and mobile communications of anyone linked to a "terrorist" inquiry without prior authorisation from a judge, and forces Internet service providers and phone companies to give up data upon request.
Intelligence services will have the right to place cameras and recording devices in private dwellings and install "keylogger" devices that record every key stroke on a targeted computer in real time.
The authorities will be able to keep recordings for a month, and metadata for five years.
The experts on the UN committee called on France to take measures "to guarantee that any interference in private life must conform to principles of legality, proportionality and necessity" and that any data gathering is done for specific purposes laid out beforehand.
Story continues below…
Despite the criticism France's top court ratified pretty much all of the new powers laid out in the bill.
That has led to criticism from internet civil liberties groups with in France.
In a statement titled "Shame on France" the group La Quadrature du Net said: "By validating almost all surveillance measures provided in the Surveillance Law adopted on 25 June, the French Constitutional Council legalises mass surveillance and endorses a historical decline in fundamental rights."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.it)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available