French intelligence and government officials will be able to spy on internet users in real time and without authorisation, under a law passed on Wednesday.
The legislation, which was approved almost unnoticed, will enable a wide range of public officials including police, gendarmes, intelligence and anti-terrorist agencies as well as several government ministries to monitor computer, tablet and smartphone use directly.
The spying clause, part of a new military programming law, comes just weeks after France, which considers individual privacy a pillar of human rights, expressed outrage at revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been intercepting phone calls in France. The president, François Hollande, expressed his « extreme reprobation ». […]