[A2k] Final Adoption of Generalised Surveillance in France: a Disturbing Political Drift

La Quadrature du Net jz at laquadrature.net
Thu Dec 19 11:05:02 PST 2013


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/final-adoption-of-generalised-surveillance-in-france-a-disturbing-political-drift

Final Adoption of Generalised Surveillance in France: a Disturbing Political Drift

*** Paris, 19 December 2013 — The French President promulgated [1] the 2014-2019 Defense Bill last night. Adoption of article 20 (former article 13) opening the door to generalized surveillance of communications and the failure to request its constitutional challenge demonstrate the deep crisis of a political system which does not hesitate anymore to massively compromise fundamental rights. La Quadrature du Net thanks all those who contributed to oppose this article. It calls for the continuation of the fight against surveillance of our communications on the Internet, by any means: before Parliament or judges, through technology and usage choices. ***

The French 2014-2019 Defense Bill [2] has been officially published last night in the Journal Officiel. Its article 20 (former article 13) opens the way to generalised surveillance of online information and communications, notably through live capturing of data from hosting services and Internet service providers and for purposes going way beyond the mere national security.

The adoption of this article – with its ambiguous wording and misleading place in a Defense Bill meant to schedule the military budget – and the faillure to obtain its constitutional review reflect the deep crisis democratic representation is going through, failling to protect citizens fundamental rights. This Bill has been unanimously adopted by François Hollande's left wing party – Parliament's majority group –, despite wide inner divisions on article 20 and a previous opposition on similar but temporary and less harmful texts in 2006 and 2008. The right wing, ecologists and the far-left voted against the Bill in both chambers.

However, once the Bill was adopted, despite the strong citizen mobilization and numerous warnings [3] by various organizations [4], political divisions and group discipline prevented the collection of the 60 signatures required to call upon the Conseil Constitutionnel (French constitutional court) to review any new law. A strict party discipline from the left-wing majority party (PS), sectarianism from the right-wing party (UMP) refusing to sign together with green and far-left groups, and an aggressive campaign by the leader of the right-wing group against its MPs signing the request, will be remembered as symbols of the drift toward a post-democratic system.

Many other steps will enable citizens to continue the fight against the development of a generalised surveillance, which has become a tool for political powers unable to act for the common good. In legal terms, the future publication of the Decree by the Conseil d'État (Highest administrative court) and announced French laws on intelligence and freedoms online will provide new opportunities for discussion, decision, and challenge. But it is on the political and usage fronts that our rights and freedoms will be determined.

“With the others associations of defense of human rights and freedoms who have acted on this issue, we will campaign restlessly against surveillance and these violations of the separation of powers. We call for a strong affirmation of the role of the judiciary, of the right to privacy and of the individuals freedoms in the upcoming laws, and any form of challenge” concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, cofounder and spokesperson of La Quadrature du Net.

“A balance of rights can only be restored if citizens strongly demonstrate that there is no democracy or human beings free to express themselves in a surveillance State, and if everyone, in their choices of services, tools and usage, reclaims what we abandoned to centralized operators” concludes Phillipe Aigrain, cofounder of La Quadrature du Net.

* References *

1. https://www.laquadrature.net/files/joe_20131219_0294_s000.pdf [fr]

2. Loi n° 2013-1168 du 18 décembre 2013 relative à la programmation militaire pour les années 2014 à 2019 et portant diverses dispositions concernant la défense et la sécurité nationale : http://www.journal-officiel.gouv.fr/publication/2013/1219/joe_20131219_0294_sx00.html#test1

3. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/huge-threats-to-fundamental-freedoms-and-rights-consolidated-in-the-french-parliament

4. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/reuters-opponents-of-french-surveillance-law-race-to-get-support-for-review

** About La Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge. 

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net

** Press contact and press room **

Jérémie Zimmermann, jz at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675


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