03 Aug 2017 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 06 May 2015 n° 37/2015 France
France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens
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.
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
- Letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression/UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association/UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders/UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism/UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy (in French)
- Article in The New York Times: "Lawmakers in France Move to Vastly Expand Surveillance"
- EFJ Statement (in French)
12 May 2015
Reply by the French authorities
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
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
29 Feb 2016
Factsheet on Mass Surveillance