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France could ban public WiFi after Paris attacks

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France could ban public WiFi after Paris attacks
A man uses the WiFi services at the Gare du Nord train station in central Paris. Photo: AFP
15:24 CET+01:00
Police in France want to cut off the country's public WiFi connections during the ongoing state of emergency, according to internal documents seen by the French media.
French authorities aim to pass new laws that would block anonymous web browsing, according to Le Monde newspaper, which has seen internal documents from the Interior Ministry.
 
The documents show that the police want to make two specific changes to the French constitution in the wake of the Paris terror attacks last month that saw 130 people killed. 
 
One of the measures put forward said that public WiFi networks  - which refers to free and shared internet hotspots available to anyone in a public places like cafés - be banned during a state of emergency.
 
Police argue that such Wifi networks make life both easy for terrorists to contact one another and more complicated for authorities who are trying to keep tabs on them.
 
This would further increase police powers during the state of emergency, which already have seen them raiding homes without a warrant, banning public gatherings, and tightening border controls. 
 
Recent reports suggest that the current state of emergency could be extended to six months.
 
Another measure police want introduced, according to Le Monde, would see a permanent ban on the essentially anonymous TOR web browser as part of a counter-terror crackdown. 
 
The TOR network - which shot to prominence in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations - is used by those seeking to maintain privacy online, ranging from journalists and whistleblowers to terrorists and paedophiles. 
 
Banning such a network is also presumably a measure to slow down communication in terrorist networks. It has already been successfully blocked in China and Iran. 
 
If the legislation is passed, both laws could come into effect as early as January, reported Le Monde. 
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