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Censorship Government The Internet Your Rights Online

The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-of-le-children dept.
Psychophrenes writes "A new episode in French internet legislation — French ministers have passed a bill (original in French) allowing the government to add any website to a black list, which access providers will have to enforce. This black list will be defined by the government only, without requiring the intervention of the legal system. Although originally intended against pedo-pornographic websites, this bill is already outdated, as was Hadopi in its time, and instead paves the way for a global censorship of the 'French internet.'"
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The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am french and at the moment everybody should leave this country for china.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ThePangolino (1756190)

      I am french and at the moment everybody should leave this country for china.

      Thanks for confirming French people are cowards!

    • Re:france sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:06PM (#34577530) Homepage Journal

      I think China may actually be worse, but I am not sure, I can't get anyone their to comment.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:32PM (#34578030)

        I think China may actually be worse, but I am not sure, I can't get anyone their to comment.

        That may be a good thing. Making contact with China only to get a lecture on the difference between 'there,' and 'their' would be embarrassing ;)

    • I am United Statsian and I fear that my country isn't too far behind yours in terms of censorship.
      • by rwa2 (4391) * on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:42PM (#34578230) Homepage Journal

        I too, but thanks to this, we now have an extremely effective rally cry...

        "No Internet Blacklists No! You Don't Want To Be Like France, Do You?!"

        Of course, the most impact it could possibly have is that they'd probably just implement a freedomwall instead of a firewall :-/

        Je t'aime, au revoir! ;-)

      • Yes but U.S. citizens still have their guns, the French dropped theirs ~60 years ago :)

      • I am United Statsian

        You're a what now? What the smeg is a "Statsian?" Sounds like a species on Star Trek.

        Dude, I live in North America, and I'm not American. I don't know of a single North-American residing non-American that objects to residents of the USA referring to themselves as "Americans." You're American, dude. Just use the term and get over yourself.

        • by puto (533470)
          Actually, I see nothing in his statement other than a bit of humor with referring to himself as a United Statian. However, I do see someone who is riding the typical Canadian high horse "I am Canadian and not American but I am North American." for absolutely no reason. Canadians and "Americans" are different sides to the same coin. You need to get over being Canadian.
          • Re:france sucks (Score:5, Informative)

            by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:55PM (#34580524)
            My point is that, as a Canadian, I don't really care if people who live in the USA call themselves "American." It's the generally-agreed upon term. I'm not refusing to call myself "American" because of some insecurity complex or because I'm on some high horse - I'm simply not going to call myself "American" because it's not the correct term to describe a Canadian or Mexican. If you live in North America, you're Canadian, American or Mexican. That's just how it is.
      • by corbettw (214229)

        I am United Statsian

        You're a whatnow? Which country is that from? The United States of Mexico is my first guess, though the United States of Brazil could fit, as well (in which case you really need to let that one go since it's been about 40 years since it was the official name of Brazil).

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          I think it would be pronounced United Station.

          A person from Chalmette, LA is called a Chalmation (starts like Shall, ends like dalmatian)
          A person from Violet, LA is called a Violation.

          • by puto (533470)
            A person from Violet is a "fromdowndaroadian". A gues a person from Chalmette called also be called a "parishian".
        • by puto (533470)
          Except in Mexico and Brasil they would say Estados Unidos. And in most Latin American countries they will actually say "los United States" in poorly pronounced English to refer to the USA.
    • It's not just France (Score:5, Informative)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:36PM (#34579224) Homepage

      It's not just France, though. There's also the Great Firewall of China, the Great Australian Firewall, the US Department of Homeland Security shutting down domains (with COICA in the works to make take-downs even easier), and probably others I'm not aware of.

      The Internet was a nice experiment in global freedom of expression, but now that governments are catching up those freedoms are beginning to disappear.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      I read this story and just wanted to go around yelling "freedom fries".

      But then I was reminded that our government not only has attempted to get this in the past, they have manipulated ICANN to seize domains and pressured businesses into dropping services to sites they don't like.

      Maybe I should just yell "potato sticks" instead.

    • I guess they decided to change it to just "Egalite, Fraternite" and drop the "Liberte" part, huh?

  • by fluch (126140) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:03PM (#34577480)

    ...that Wikileaks is on that list? Or similar sites?

    • Business as usual (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:08PM (#34577590)

      The business of government only expands in power and revenue throughout its lifetime, never willingly or permanently reducing power or revenue. History has proven this over and over again, to the point where one could argue that the entire objective of government is power and revenue.

      I remain absolutely shocked that the common man doesn't consider this a giant red flag.

      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#34578078)

        Governments are like nuclear power. If left unchecked they will kill a lot of people, screw up the neighborhood for generations and cause loss of standard of living for a lot other people. In the extreme, they can be used as a weapon and cause far more damage yet.

        On the other hand, given enough containment and backup control systems, they can be the most powerful source of help in everyday life to a lot of people.

        So where the challenge truly lies is in engineering such containment and control (see for example: the US Constitution) and then maintaining it. But when citizens willing to fight for their rights to the death are replaced with the likes of lardy American Idol fans, there is simply no one left to look after rusty, sieve-like containment vessels.

        And so, unfortunately, most governments on the planet today are in various stages of performing their Chernobyl thing.

        • by Dunbal (464142) *

          Unfortunately everyone stopped caring about those controls in the late 1980's, and now a runaway chain reaction is underway.

        • there's something beautiful about that analogy.

          now if we could only get all politicians sealed inside an airtight lead box.

      • That actually would be ok ..... IF the common man controlled the government. Notice that when populations are small... there is far less complaining about the govt. The problem is that when elites control the govt (which is the case in many places) you're statement has a lot of truth to it Heck, in the US we've reached the point where NEITHER party cares about civil liberties. I must be a weird guy.. because I find a lot of common ground with both Bernie Sanders (socialist) and Ron Paul (libertarian)
    • ...are you measuring time before the blacklist goes live or not?

  • France being France.
    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:14PM (#34577718)
      The problem with that is that France is now what the US will be in a few years... pissed off that it's no longer a global superpower, and pissed off that it's language is no longer considered the "lingua franca" for global commerce.
      • by cdrudge (68377)

        pissed off that it's language is no longer considered the "lingua franca" for global commerce.

        Don't you mean "langue franque"?

        Seriously though, French hasn't been the lingua franca since WWII. 60 years is a long time to be pissed off about something and waiting to do something about it.

      • by puto (533470)
        English is the language used for global commerce, and has been for quite some time. I live in South America and work with companies from all over the world, and I do not recall anyone every asking if I could speak French.
        • by c0lo (1497653)

          English is the language used for global commerce, and has been for quite some time. I live in South America and work with companies from all over the world, and I do not recall anyone every asking if I could speak French.

          My suggestion: time for you to learn Mandarin.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#34581200)

        pissed off that it's no longer a global superpower, and pissed off that it's language is no longer considered the "lingua franca" for global commerce.

        They have the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and their economy, while unstable, is still ranked 9th in the world. That instability is caused by transitioning to a more capitalistic economic model. And before you go bad-mouthing France, I'd like to point out that the average French citizen has a higher cut of GDP than the average United States citizen, despite the economic crisis for one simple reason: The French didn't bend over and take it in the ass at the behest of corporate interests who sold out their future for a few SUVs and a bank-owned home that's not worth half of what it was paid for.

        Frankly, France has a rosier future than the United States does -- they're making a difficult transition that will improve the standard of living for its citizens in the long run, at the cost of some short term pain. The United States is making a transition for the worse because our government has systematically chosen short term gain at the expense of sustainability and long-term growth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      They're only censoring it to protect their culture. French ISPs need to carry at least 75% French content, like their television and radio.
  • ...given that they have gained a sort of reputation for having a canonical answer to everything--they have an institute that defines their language (and quashes neologisms); they have extensive fights regarding the IP that defines their wines; I wouldn't be surprised if they insist on the One True Baguette Recipe.

    While this is a rather stupid step to take, I'm going to be very interested in how it plays out. They'll fail, of course, but perhaps this will spur faster development of distributed DNS or altern
  • I Wonder (Score:5, Funny)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:09PM (#34577610) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if they will add Google's list of French military victories [albinoblacksheep.com] to that blacklist...
  • Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:11PM (#34577638)

    There goes that "Liberté" thing you fought for. Better luck next time.

    • And many international troops died for especially in WW2. Yes, it was an international theatre of war, but france was at its core as a location. My grandfather, as a New Zealander, fought germans, retaking french villages.

      I disagreed with the American's "Freedom Fries" response to France's reluctance over the Iraq war. But to hear the French hindering French freedoms grates a little.
  • Are they going to add all proxies to the list as well?
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:18PM (#34577814)

    Where is that legendary fighting French spirit?

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:19PM (#34577828)

    ...add any website to a black list, which access providers will have to enforce.

    I don't know how feasible this really is. Are they going to block encrypted and VPN traffic as well? Deep packet inspection to disallow the use of proxies? Denying access to DNS servers outside France? The government has essentially passed legislation to hold service providers accountable for something that, frankly, is impossible to impliment. If you are an internet service provider in France right now, I'd be seriously thinking of selling my stocks, cashing in, and getting the hell out now, before you lose your whole investment on a piece of government legislation destined to cause many, many judges to facepalm.

    • by dachshund (300733)

      Are they going to block encrypted and VPN traffic as well? Deep packet inspection to disallow the use of proxies? Denying access to DNS servers outside France?

      In the past few years working with DRM systems I've basically come to appreciate the 'mom rule'. Namely, if a technology's good enough to keep your mom from accessing data, then it's probably good enough --- meaning it'll keep 90+% of potential customers on the paying hook.

      In this case, while my mom's excellent at typing nytimes.com into her brows

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        In the past few years working with DRM systems I've basically come to appreciate the 'mom rule'. Namely, if a technology's good enough to keep your mom from accessing data, then it's probably good enough --- meaning it'll keep 90+% of potential customers on the paying hook.

        The thing about software and the Internet is that if enough people want it, but it is too difficult to do, it becomes easy to do. If there is demand, someone will make it trivially easy to bypass the filters.

    • All the providers have to do is block a specific set of URL's. Easy to implement, but also easy to work around, so basically pointless. But I don't expect it will add much to the ISP's workload.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      I don't know how feasible this really is. Are they going to block encrypted and VPN traffic as well? Deep packet inspection to disallow the use of proxies? Denying access to DNS servers outside France?

      They don't have to block everyone from accessing it. They just have to block enough so that the average person won't come across it. Then make anyone who circumvents the blocks a criminal. Normal upstanding citizens aren't going to believe a criminal over their own government.

      It doesn't have to be perfect,

  • Will they publish the blacklist publicly ? If not, there's no telling what they could block, especially since there don't appear to be any checks or oversight.

    • by Zorpheus (857617)
      If it is not published officially, somone will probably give it to wikileaks or a similar site. With all providers having that list.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:24PM (#34577900)

    Allright boys and girls, lets all say it together.

    Blacklists don't work. :)

    Buying a new domain costs very little - especially if we're talking about child porn websites - which aren't meant to get millions of hits per day.

    Now, lets wait until someone discovers that torrents may contain child porn. Then the circle will be complete.

  • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:28PM (#34577972) Journal

    Just go on QuatreChan and get Anonyme to threaten a DdSD (déni de service distribué) attack on all of France.

  • Locks are for honest people.

    What this means here is that the dishonest will find a way to get around the wall, while honest websites that teh government decides to ban, right or wrong, remain hidden from French public view.

  • by Baldur_of_Asgard (854321) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#34578118)

    Once again a western government uses the drummed-up fear of pedophiles as a stalking horse to eradicate human liberty. The damnedest thing is that pedophiles are about as peaceful a group of people as can be found - but I suppose that is why the government has chosen this target. It's harder to crack down on minorities who are inclined and strong enough to strike back.

    It's easier to hire the angry people to put down the peaceful people than the other way around, and get the angry people to accept the loss of freedom as "necessary" to the struggle.

    A few facts about the bête noire du jour. [b4uact.org] Remember, the loss of your freedom depends on the people never learning the truth ... at least, until it is too late.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WiseWeasel (92224)

      Umm, peaceful except for that whole assaulting and raping defenseless children part...

  • by netsavior (627338) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:38PM (#34578142)
    Only with Drugs. The FDA, HHS, and DEA have this exact power [wikipedia.org], completely unchecked by the legal system to basically make laws on the fly about individual substances by changing their classification.
    If they wanted to make Asprin a felony tomorrow, they could... and stores would have to comply in a hurry. It is not subject to Judicial review

    Although on the surface it would seem like the two have not much to do with each other, drug convictions are a great way to imprison people and deny them their right to vote, which is perhaps more powerful than merely limiting free speech online.
  • by Kilobug (213978) <le-mig_g@NoSPAm.epita.fr> on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:18PM (#34578872)

    As terrible as the news is, there is still hope. The law isn't passed yet. The article was voted in the National Assembly (lower chamber). It still requires, before being a valid law :

    1. A vote on the law as a whole in the lower chamber.

    2. A vote on the article in the upper chamber (Senate).

    3. A vote on the law as a whole in the upper chamber.

    4. If the two versions are different, even a coma apart (which is almost always the case), a full new vote on each of the chambers.

    5. A validation by the Constitutional Council.

    Points 1. and 3. are very likely to succeed, saddly. But point 2., the vote on the article in the upper chamber can reasonably change the law, adding a validation by a judge for example. The UMP (Sarkozy's party) doesn't have absolute majority in the Senate, so they need to compromise with the center-right which may obtain that.

    And then the validation by the Constitutional Council is unlikely, they censored the HADOPI (three-strike law for "illegal downloading"), stating clearly that Internet in the XXIest century is protected by the article 11 of the Declaration of Humans and Citizen Rights (which is part of our Constitution) : The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law. , their interpretation being that abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law can only be confirmed by a court after due legal process. It would surprise me for them to turn back on this stance, and allow Internet censorship without decision of a court.

    But since the UMP has more friends than foes in the Constitutional Council, and that it is to protect the children will they will validate it :(

    But anyway, it's still not a lost battle, and we are still fighting against the law.

  • by soup (6299)
    How typical, France re-invents the Maginot firewall. Churchill: "Where are your anti-circumvention procedures?" French high command: "Aucune..."
  • You authoritarian frog-*******, ****-eating, ***-kissing morceaux de *****.

    Oh damn. It works.

  • Now, if only someone could "hack in", as the kids call it these days, and add all of the French government sites to this list, especially the no doubt web-facing browser-based administrative tool used to maintain this list...

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

Working...