France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

Update: 03 Aug 2017 State replied
Year 06 May 2015 Country France Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
06 May 2015 France E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Level 2

On 5 May 2015, the French National Assembly voted on the surveillance bill which gives the Prime Minister the power to massively monitor the French population without judicial control. The bill, adopted under an accelerated procedure, was met with opposition from a number of civil and professional organizations (the journalists’ unions SNJ and SNJ-CGT, the European Federation of Journalists, the Human Rights League, Amnesty International, two Unions of Magistrates, the Union of Lawyers, the Defender of Rights, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties ...). The text legalizes the practice by the intelligence services, of a particularly broad and intrusive surveillance on the privacy of citizens, with no real counter-power, and for purposes unrelated to terrorism. This law definitively compromises the protection of journalists' sources and it is an obvious deterrent to whistleblowers.

Updates

05 Oct 2015 : On 3 October 2015, the Law on Surveillance entered into force, after the Official Journal published the Presidential decree, appointing the members of the National Commission for the Intelligence Techniques. On the same day, 180 journalists of the legal press association announced that they were appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the law has wide implications for civil liberties and asking the Court to strike down the sweeping powers the law gives to intelligence agencies.
22 May 2015 : Journalists respond to the French Authorities on the Draft Law on Intelligence

State replies

12 May 2015 : Reply by the French authorities

Follow-ups

03 Aug 2017 : The European Court of Human Rights decided to communicate to the French Government several applications lodged by journalists and lawyers which concern the French Intelligence Act of 24 July 2015. On 27 April and 4 July 2017, the Court put questions to the parties under Articles 8 (right to respect for private life and correspondence), 10 (freedom of expression) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention.
20 May 2015 : The Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the French Senate on surveillance bill
06 May 2015 : Press Release from OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
13 Apr 2015 : Statement by Commissioner of Human Rights

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