News / Europe

France Expands Internet, Phone Monitoring Powers

FILE - A woman walks past a store of French internet service provider and mobile phone operator 'Free' in Paris.FILE - A woman walks past a store of French internet service provider and mobile phone operator 'Free' in Paris.
x
FILE - A woman walks past a store of French internet service provider and mobile phone operator 'Free' in Paris.
FILE - A woman walks past a store of French internet service provider and mobile phone operator 'Free' in Paris.
Reuters
France expanded the government's powers to monitor phone and Internet connection data without judicial review as a last-minute opposition attempt to block the move failed to gather support.
 
The French Official Journal on Thursday published a military budget law that grants monitoring powers to more agencies such as tax and finance authorities, broadens the grounds for surveillance, and strips judges of the power to review monitoring requests.
 
The proposed law had come under fire from Google Inc and Microsoft Corp, telecom operators such as Orange and Internet advocacy groups, who argue that it is too broad and violates people's privacy.
 
Parliament members of the Green Party had tried to make an alliance with the left-wing Front de Gauche and a dissident group within the conservative UMP party to force a review by the top constitutional watchdog, but failed to get the backing of 60 senators or 60 deputies to initiate the procedure.

‘Political quarrels’

“Despite citizen's action and the engagement of 48 parliamentarians, the appeal to the Constitutional Council did not proceed because of political quarrels,” the Digital Renaissance group said in a statement.
 
Green party parliamentarians Barbara Pompili and Francois de Rugy blamed the failure on the refusal of UMP MPs to link up with green and far-left groups.
 
Center-right UMP parliamentary floor leader Christian Jacob wrote to his 190 colleagues last week that the group would not seek a legal review. The UMP is the largest opposition party to the majority Socialists, whose leaders support the new surveillance policy.
 
According to Article 13 of the new law, French government agencies will be able to request connection data from telecom operators and Internet companies transmitted in real time, including location information from mobile phones.
 
The grounds on which the government may carry out such surveillance have been expanded to include not only national security and counter-terrorism, but also to protect “the scientific and economic potential of France” and “fight criminality.”
 
President Francois Hollande's government argued Article 13 was needed to clear up a legal gray area and that it actually grants stronger civil rights protections to individuals.
 
Critics, which include the MEDEF, France's biggest business lobby, worry the measures will undermine confidence in Internet services such as cloud computing and email.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid