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France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA 169

Posted by timothy
from the touch-of-the-old-industrial-espionage dept.
krakman writes "With the NSA disclosures, French media was 'outraged'. Yet they appear to be worse than the NSA, with a new law that codifies standard practice and provides for no judicial oversight while allowing electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including 'national security,' the protection of France's 'scientific and economic potential' and prevention of ;terrorism' or 'criminality.' The government argues that the law, passed last week with little debate as part of a routine military spending bill, which takes effect in 2015, does not expand intelligence powers. Rather, officials say, those powers have been in place for years, and the law creates rules where there had been none, notably with regard to real-time location tracking. French intelligence agencies have little experience publicly justifying their practices. Parliamentary oversight did not begin until 2007."
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France Broadens Surveillance Powers; Wider Scope Than NSA

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  • Support Freedom Box! (Score:5, Informative)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @02:52PM (#45696783)
    https://freedomboxfoundation.org [freedomboxfoundation.org]
  • Thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Now everybody wants what the NSA has, and the next time someone brings up human rights, every dictator will brush off the criticism, and will be JUSTIFIED in doing so.

  • I was hoping that if I ever expatriate, France would have been a good choice.

    • by schnell (163007) <me&schnell,net> on Sunday December 15, 2013 @04:49PM (#45697755) Homepage
      Don't worry. Knowing the French, they will just use these expanded surveillance powers searching for and punishing users of forbidden "franglais" terms [bbc.co.uk]. Violators will be captured by SWAT teams wearing stylish berets and ascots, then locked in solitary confinement to read "The Little Prince" over and over again for as long as it takes until the next time the jailers go on strike.
      • Are you complaining about such a system or just jealous?

        In the defense of French secret services -- they were only collecting the MIME-TYPES of the messages. For instance, you Mime might be caught in an invisible box, or being swept away by an invisible wind. Find out the type of mime, makes a big difference but doesn't involve personal information.

      • Don't worry. Knowing the French, they will just use these expanded surveillance powers searching for and punishing users of forbidden "franglais" terms [bbc.co.uk]. Violators will be captured by SWAT teams wearing stylish berets and ascots, then locked in solitary confinement to read "The Little Prince" over and over again for as long as it takes until the next time the jailers go on strike.

        And the province of Quebec, Canada will follow suite.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:15PM (#45696985)

    This summary displays the European Union flag

    As a french citizen, I am getting more and more upset to see the European flag used instead of France's one for stories about France. 10 years ago I was very fond of the EU, but now I realized EU is not a democracy and I am not a EU citizen. It is quite the contrary, as EU project is to destroy democracy.

    I wish Slashdot could add a logo for France, even something full of clichés, it will make me more comfortable.

    • Why? If TFA is anything to go buy you'll be changing the flag soon anyway... right?

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      As an EU citizen you could try to change the institution. However, it is easier to whine about it. And honestly, in most cases things coming down from the EU are planted there by the governments of the member state, so the bad things you talk about are actually from your government.

      BTW: France is part of the EU as much as Germany or the Netherlands, therefore it is only fair to summarize all these countries with the EU flag, just like US states are all summarized by the US flag. Yes we are not that one coun

      • As an EU citizen you could try to change the institution.

        Are you one of these scumbags paid by the European Parliament to troll on forums? Of course one can try though with the current system, it's doomed to failure.

        BTW: France is part of the EU as much as Germany or the Netherlands, therefore it is only fair to summarize all these countries with the EU flag, just like US states are all summarized by the US flag. Yes we are not that one country as the US is, but it is very close.

        This is not the united states of Europe. Nobody wants that in Europe (I mean, as in, the people doesn't want this, at least anymore). There's more and more sovereign movements raising, and they will get even stronger as time passes. So, it has never been, and never will be fair to replace the flags of individual countries (did you notice I didn't use

        • by peragrin (659227)

          Actually from what I have seen Europe is slowly turning into the united European states. It won't be this generation or the next but when the current kids are running the show It will be talked about more openly.

          First comes money sharing, then power sharing, and finally people sharing. as people are more inclined to move around for jobs over time the viewpoint no one wants a united europe will slowly fall to the side.

        • This is not the united states of Europe. Nobody wants that in Europe (I mean, as in, the people doesn't want this, at least anymore). There's more and more sovereign movements raising, and they will get even stronger as time passes. So, it has never been, and never will be fair to replace the flags of individual countries (did you notice I didn't use the word state?) by the European flag.

          Give it time. That description is very much like the USA pre-civil war when a person's nationality was more often described by their home state rather than as the USA. Then, there will be a crisis that will come along and make or break the EU (many people are looking at the current Euro currency things going on). It could fall the way you want, but then it could fall the other way also.

      • As an EU citizen you could try to change the institution.

        But he's not an EU citizen. He's French. The only people who can claim in any sense to be "EU Citizens" are the various political classes across the continent. They (mis)manage, decide and direct the operation of their own countries and the EU in general, in the direction they choose, with or without the consent or support of their general populations.

        As un-democratic as that sounds, in the post-war period this attitude among the EU political/executiv

    • If it makes you feel better: Note the page background. French flag.

    • Oh you are an EU "citizen". You just didn't realize the EU definition of citizen differs substantially from your own.

  • by wumbler (3428467) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:21PM (#45697031)

    I think what we have learned is that given the opportunity, no country's intelligence/police/security apparatus is truly more ethical than that of other countries. There's a huge difference between cheap, public words spoken by politicians and what's really going on behind the scenes. If they have the technical option, they will collect and spy and monitor whatever they can.

    The NSA gets a bad rap, since (a) it has access to most information and thus is most scary and (b) in the US there is the constitution, which at least in principle should curtail certain government activities, giving critics something to use in their fight. In other countries there often aren't the constitutional documents, which aim to codify personal freedoms and liberties in the same way. Therefore, in the US the surveillance opponents at least have a document in their support that they can point at, while the same people in other countries often have no such thing. In that respect, the surveillance debate in the US could be more forceful with at least some ammunition for the opponents. In this regard, other countries aren't that lucky.

    However, in the end it's all academic: Surveillance/intelligence agencies will do whatever they damn well feel like doing. Whatever local laws they have will matter little. These are agencies that have secrecy baked into their DNA. They know - for the most part - to keep their activities away from the public and also the politicians for that matter.

    Pass whatever laws you want, it won't matter anymore.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Other countries do have things like Canada's "Charter of Rights" section of our Constitution. Just because the US is famous for it's Constitution doesn't mean other countries don't have them.

      However, unless/until the leaks come out to document that our nations are involved in spying similar to the NSA, it's not like the agencies in question are going to respond to a FOI request as to whether they're spying within a nation's boundaries or not. While I'm comfortable that CSEC isn't spying within Canada,

      • Uhmm, the USA is not famous for it's constitution. The USA is famous for being the last country to abolish slavery and requiring a civil war to do so.
  • So the new law expands their surveillance powers, or doesn't, and just adds more rules for them. Could someone please explain which it is for those of us without access to TFA? I really hope this isn't typical American anti-French bias.
    • by Aighearach (97333)

      Here is the score: they just legalized much more spying than the French people thought was happening. And in their surprised defense they've admitted this is all already being done, and that prior to this French intelligence, and even law enforcement, were believed by the French government to have unlimited powers.

      • by Murdoc (210079)
        Thanks for helping me out, but it's still confusing. If they've "admitted" that this was all already being done, how can they have legalized more? Or is it that they are just claiming that it was all being done before, trying to make it look like nothing has changed when it really has?
    • by gmhowell (26755)

      This is /. Just like "it's ok if Google does it", the thinking is "it's okay if EUians do it".

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:32PM (#45697105) Homepage Journal
    After the NSA covering the world, whats left? Spying on cows? They must be attacking us farting all the way to global warming.
  • Outraged? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday December 15, 2013 @03:33PM (#45697109) Homepage Journal

    Are they really outraged? We know the French can get barricades-and-guillotines outraged, or at least their forebearors could.

    Or is this more "I shall say snippy things at parties?"

    • by couchslug (175151)

      " We know the French can get barricades-and-guillotines outraged, or at least their forebearors could."

      So could ours. Now we are far too comfortable to fight.

      • Now we are far too comfortable to fight.

        Speaking of which, Owell vs. Huxley [imgur.com].

        • by Sir Holo (531007)

          Jules Verne is apropos here. He wrote Paris in the Twentieth Century in 1863.

          From a review: "This novel ... shows Verne in a darker, frankly dystopian mood. His mid-20th century Paris is an enormously wealthy society, a place of technological wonders, but, like Huxley's Brave New World, it is also a society without meaningful art. Engineering and banking are the prime industries of this civilization and, as the book's protagonist discovers, not even the most talented poet can find a place for himself unle

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The French political system traditionally involves street-demostration-cum-riot-level protest a lot more often than most other countries, definitely more often than America's.

      Generally, controversial measures get passed into law before most people even know about them. Then, if enough people care, there are street demos with options on violence, which are contained rather than put down by police. Then the law gets changed to something more acceptable.

      It's the common French pattern, in contrast to the US sys

  • So now people can't complain that the government's intelligence gathering is illegal. Clever.
    • by phayes (202222)

      No. Every french governement since the 4th republic has legally spied on the French public with little/no reaction by the press or public. Pompidou asked Kennedy "How can you control the population whe you do not control the radio or the TV as we do?"

      • Pompidou asked Kennedy "How can you control the population when you do not control the radio or the TV as we do?"

        Thus the Democratic party's relationship to the modern day press. Thanks a ton for the suggestion Pompidou.

        At least the press do the jobs they are supposed to do when Republicans are in office, it's ashamed they are asleep at the switch the other half of the time.

        • Is there still a lot of people like you believing in this stupid left-right paradigm? We're well passed that, aren't we?
  • 1990
    "Lets fit everyone with a radio tracking device so we know where they are at all times"
    "What, they would never allow that, it would never work"

    2013
    I can has two cellphones!

    Mission achieved
  • French media was 'outraged'. Yet they appear to be worse then the NSA

    that's some hard core reporting!

    • by lordholm (649770)

      European SIGINT is much worse than the US SIGINT in many cases. While they tend to be stronger regulated, the SIGINT in Europe is effectively tapping every fiberoptic cable in the EU. NSA fiberoptic taps are on exit / entry points in the US, european state SIGINT taps the fiberoptic cables on exit / entry points of the country.

      Consequently, if I email someone in NY from California, it is likely that the email content will never pass an NSA collection point/tap. If do something similar in Europe, say email f

      • With the revelation of the NSA having collection points on an internal network between data centers, it sure seems like there's not a way to send any email within the U.S. without going through a collection point.

  • Are the French legal guidelines broader than the US legal guidelines. Broader than what the NSA and CIA are known to do? Narrower than what the French are known to do?

    Thanks to Snowden we know the US agencies have exceeded their legal boundaries (or at the very least operated in secret to avoid any legal or constitutional challenge.) What is the situation in France WRT their intelligence agencies and their laws.

  • I don't like this practice.
    But if at least they have the balls to admit it, put in the law, and let everybody know that in France you're being watched, then I'm kind of ok with it.
    Not happy, grinning, but ok.
    At least they have the balls to be transparent.
    I wish the USA did the same, aka: "Complain all you want, but the NSA will continue to do it, if you don't want to be tracked at all, don't use the internet, don't use a cell phone, live a early 20th century live.

  • Does the editor not understand grammar? Seriously...

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