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[NYTimes] Lawmakers in France Move to Vastly Expand Surveillance

At a moment when American lawmakers are reconsidering the broad surveillance powers assumed by the government after Sept. 11, the lower house of the French Parliament took a long stride in the opposite direction Tuesday, overwhelmingly approving a bill that could give authorities their most intrusive domestic spying abilities ever, with almost no judicial oversight. […]

The provisions, as currently outlined, would allow them to tap cellphones, read emails and force Internet providers to comply with government requests to sift through virtually all of their subscribers’ communications. Among the types of surveillance that the intelligence services would be able to carry out is the bulk collection and analysis of metadata similar to that done by the United States’ National Security Agency. […]

But opponents, including one of France’s leading judges dealing with terrorism cases, Marc Trévidic, say that the law’s text contradicts the prime minister’s assurances. […] The editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo — a victim of the kinds of attack the measure is presumably meant to thwart — also criticized it. “I think that opportunistic laws are always bad laws,” the editor in chief, Gérard Biard, said in an interview at The New York Times Editorial Board. […]

The only judicial oversight is a provision that allows the commission to lodge a complaint with the Council of State, but lawyers are dubious that they could be convened on a routine basis. The Council of State functions as a legal adviser to the executive branch of government and a supreme court for matters of administrative law. […]

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/06/world/europe/french-legislators-approv...