[TechDirt] French Surveillance Programs Eerily Echo The NSA's, Right Down To Codifying Unconstitutional Collections

[...] When news broke of the NSA acquiring millions of metadata records from French phone companies, the response from the French government seemed like little more than an attempt to shift the focus off its own PRISM-esque collection programs.

[...] more details have surfaced suggesting the French government respects its citizens no more than the US government does. Making things a bit messier is the fact that the French intelligence agencies' actions aren't subject to judicial control but rather answer solely to the executive branch (as it were) directly. [...]

The bottom line is virtually identical: these [French surveillance] programs are, for all intents and purposes, legal. What may have seemed to skirt the protections of the French constitution have been codified into law. It may seem illegal to surveill your own citizens, but if legislation is passed making the previously illegal legal, then the legality issue vanishes. Unlike what's currently happening in the US, the French government has yet to ask the French constitutional court to review the constitutionality of these collections. And if it hasn't done it yet, it seems unlikely to do in the future unless prompted by multiple lawsuits by surveilled citizens and entities.