Paris, 1 April 2015 – As the French Intelligence Bill (which should be more aptly called the French Mass Surveillance Bill) is being examined from 1 April by the French Parliament’s Law Commission, La Quadrature du Net launches a new campaign website and calls on all citizens to mobilize far and wide in order to convince Members of the French Parliament to refuse a law which, in its current form, organises mass surveillance and legalises intelligence methods that are highly detrimental to fundamental freedoms, all without any serious guarantees against abuse.
Since its presentation before the Council of Ministers on 19 March, the Intelligence Bill has been largely criticised. Arguments have been brought forward by members of civil society, rights advocacy groups, the legal community (even including anti-terrorism judges!), digital professionals and even the current head of the National Commission Controling Security Interceptions.
The bill provides for the general legalisation of currently illegal Intelligence practices with no control or debate about their finality and effectiveness. It will lead to mass surveillance of citizens’ data and communications over the Internet, all without adequate checks and balances prior to interceptions nor actual means for citizens to challenge potential abuses. Presented as a “great legal framework for intelligence agencies”, the bill actually takes the NSA and the GCHQ as models. It is in fact a carte blanche for intelligence agencies and the executive, allowing for massive and unprecedented intrusion on citizens’ privacy and expanding intelligence agencies’ scope of action far beyond the anti-terrorist justification under which it is currently being marketed.
Citizens must have their say in a major public and social debate such as the surveillance of a population. Today, MPs do not seem keen to contest this bill: we need to make them hear the voice of the liberties under threat and ask them to protect the citizens they represent!
La Quadrature du Net invites citizens to contact their representatives to share their concerns, ask for clarification regarding their position on this bill and ask them to refuse to vote a law which is dangerous for the democratic balance of our country. The size of citizen mobilisation is now the only tool that can push MPs to change their position before the bill is debated during public proceedings, starting 13 April.
For more information about the French Surveillance Bill, read our preliminary analysis.