French Surveillance Law Enacted: Citizens' Voices Now Wiretapped, But Not Heard



The French military budget law (LPM) was finally enacted behind closed doors, in the night of December 18 to 19, 2013. Internet Sans Frontières calls on all citizens and civil society organizations to not give up, and to continue the mobilization to safeguard our digital freedoms.




Stephanie Lamy, Secretary General of Internet Without Borders
stephanie@internetsansfrontieres.org
Twitter: @WCM_JustSocial
Stephanie initiated the petition signed by nearly 95.000 citizens: www.change.org/StopArt20

 

The French military budget Law (LPM) was finally enacted (fr) behind closed doors, in the night of December 18, to 19, 2013. An ironic enactment, as at the same time the UN General Assembly was unanimously adopting a Resolution on the protection of privacy in the digital space.

By inserting sections 20 and 21 in the LPM, the executive led member of the Parliament and citizens to believe that this legislation only concerned digital aspects of the French Defence. In reality, these sections were used to legalize the disproportionate influence of domestic government services, including interior intelligence, on citizens and their digital space. Practices worthy of the establishment of a police state.

The Sectarianism of our political class negatively impacted our freedoms. Dissenters within the ruling party remained silent. Xavier Bertrand, Member of Parliament from the opposition party UMP, despite his action at the National Assembly to collect the 60 signatures needed to refer the lax to the Constitutional Council, refused to join the 26 MPs from the Green party, the Left and independents who had already agreed to give their signatures. They refused to hear the huge popular movement calling for an end to political divisions on this important issue.

Internet Without Borders regrets that elected officials have not heard citizens' concerns about this legislation, and share the disappointment of over 90,000 people mobilized to enforce our fundamental Liberties.

The entry into force of section 20 of the military budget law in January 2015 will cause an unthinkable decline of a fundamental and essential right: the one that protects access to our personal data, our digital privacy, the emanation of our personality online, from sight and knowledge of public power.

Section 21 of the law will come into force in January 2014. The text suffers from inaccuracies, carrier of violations of the right to privacy online: it applies to but does not define a "cyberthreat", it does not specify the competent authority to determine what constitutes a violation of the "war or economic potential, security or capacity of survival of the Nation". With such a broad terminology, an event organized and disseminated through social networks could be concerned.

Information is part of the power; to increase that of the executive, and in particular that of the Ministry of Interior, by giving it the keys to our lives as connected citizens  without any prior judicial proceeding, necessarily opens a Pandora box. This exceptional law endorses a dangerous relationship, one that increases the informational domination of some over others, including politicians, breaking the Equality necessary in any democracy.

With the transgressions of two of the three fundamental values of the French Republic, we are left only with Brotherhood: We the citizens must organize resistance.

Internet Without Borders decides to use all democratic means available to citizens and civil society to continue to mobilize against these abuses detrimental to individual liberties, in the name of security.

Given the difficulty of our elected representatives to defend and protect our digital rights and freedoms, and with 2014 offering several rendez-vous during which our privacy will be debated, Internet Without Borders is committed to bringing the voices of all citizens who signed the petition #StopArt20. Our organization offers today the establishment of a collaborative space in which community based actors will coordinate actions and define common claims.

Our grassroots movement, independent of any political considerations, will continue to demand respect digital freedoms of all citizens, as stipulated by the Constitution and the international conventions signed by France on these issues.



Vendredi 20 Décembre 2013






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