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France Implements Administrative Net Censorship

Paris, February 6, 2015 - After review by the French Cabinet last Wednesday, the implementation decree for the administrative blocking of child pornography and terrorist websites was published today.

This decree implements the provisions of to the Loppsi Act (15 March 2011) and the "Terrorism" Act (13 November 2014), both of which La Quadrature du Net opposed. It gives the government the power to directly order French telecom operators to block access to websites deemed to convey content relating to child abuse or terrorism, without any court order.

In 2010, while then-Ministers Michèle Alliot-Marie and Brice Hortefeux were pushing for the Loppsi act, the Socialist Party, then the Opposition, opposed these administrative blocking for child abuse content. Yet in 2014, Bernard Cazeneuve, the French socialist Interior Minister, extended this liberty-infringing scheme to terrorism-related content.

"With this decree establishing the administrative censorship for Internet content, France once again circumvents the judicial power, betraying the separation of powers in limiting what is the first freedom of all in a democracy -- freedom of speech. Website blocking is ineffective since it is easily circumvented. It is also disproportionate because of the risk of over-blocking perfectly lawful content, especially with the blocking technique retained by the Government1. The measure only gives the illusion that the State is acting for our safety, while going one step further in undermining fundamental rights online. We must now bring this decree before the French Council of State to get it overturned." said Felix Tréguer, founding member of La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. DNS Blocking