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.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITFrench National Assemblysecuritylegislationgovernmentinternetprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?