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French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law 195

Taco Cowboy writes: Thanks to the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other instances of terrorism, the French legislature has voted 438 to 86 in favor of the "Intelligence Service Bill," essentially a French version of the Patriot Act. It awards the French intelligence services sweeping powers to tap and intercept any kind of digital correspondence, including phone conversations, emails, and social media.

The bill decrees that hosting providers and Internet service providers in France must be equipped with a "black box" that can retain all digital communications from customers. "The new law would create a 13-member National Commission to Control Intelligence Techniques, which would be made up of six magistrates from the Council of State and the Court of Appeals, three representatives of the National Assembly, three senators from the upper house of Parliament and a technical expert. ... The only judicial oversight is a provision that allows the commission to lodge a complaint with the Council of State, but lawyers are doubtful that it could be convened on a routine basis." We previously discussed news that ISPs may leave France in protest if the bill was passed. Now we'll know shortly if those ISPs will live up to their word.
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French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

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  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @01:14AM (#49627047)

    Now it seems France will learn the hard way as well that giving up freedom never buys you safety.

    • So.. what you are saying is that having near constant surveillance on anyone the US government wants, internally and externally, has not worked out well for them (them of course being the state..)?
      Or are you suggesting that the French government would not love to copy this political power grab to be able to monitor who/what/when they like for pretty much any reason?

      I would suggest that these capabilities have worked out VERY well for the powers that be - there have been a few hiccups along the way, when the

      • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @05:49AM (#49627815)

        Sorry for the vocab nazi-ism but I see this one very frequently and it's finally pushed me over the edge.

        It's toe the line. As in "conforming to the order of things by putting your toes on the line like everyone else".

        How does "tow the line" make sense? Is fishing somehow conformist?

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          I'm with you on that one, even though (to cite another of my favorite irritants), for all intensive purposes they're the same.

        • Sorry for the vocab nazi-ism but I see this one very frequently and it's finally pushed me over the edge.

          It's toe the line. As in "conforming to the order of things by putting your toes on the line like everyone else".

          How does "tow the line" make sense? Is fishing somehow conformist?

          He must've been trolling...

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      You are of course wrong. They just have to give up more freedoms! In the end, when you remove the right to breath from everybody, they will also not have terrorism anymore and ultimate security! See, works.

      (Whenever something like this happens, I see the crowds cheering frenetically for Hitler. People are stupid and will increase their own misery relentlessly, if just told the right lies.)

      • Well Bush did say that the terrorists hate us because of our freedoms. So obviously to prevent any further attacks we need to remove those freedoms that will cause the terrorists to attack us.[/sarcasm]
        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Well, you are certainly right that there are more than just the terrorists that hate these freedoms. And I have to say, as terrorist actions go, 9/11 was probably the all-time most effective one, not because the damage done itself, but because of the counter-reaction that did implement exactly what the terrorists wanted.

          • Well it was successful if one just looks at the damage done, but just becomes silly when one looks at the cost of the reaction [nytimes.com]. Granted this takes the high estimates from various studies as it makes for a better headline but at least when you dig into it you find out that even taking the low estimates the reaction was very disproportionate. Also Osama Bin Laden wanted 2 things, the US out of the middle ease (that didn't happen), and to bankrupt the Great Satan (appears to have been fairly successful). The i
    • and similar to us, they wont ever get their older style freedom back, either. once gone, freedom is damned hard to regain.

      sigh. the US can -almost- be forgiven for their stupid plunge into insanity, but the french have seen what we have had to deal with (our citizens) in the past decade or so after all the 'SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!' bullshit; and they STILL decided to go full retard!

      stupid french. seriously stupid french. they saw how it mostly ruined us and they STILL wanted to join that club! ;(

      see, peo

      • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

        I fully expect that people in the USA are going to follow their own mistakes. If the recent attack in Texas had succeeded in causing mass casualties, it would be the government's excuse for new gun control measures.

        I've been saying for years that it was only a matter of time before a Charlie Hebdo or Mumbai style attack happened on U.S. soil with legally purchased firearms. Then, the gun grabbers will be out in force trying to limit access to firearms in the name of "safety". It's happening now, but the

  • Encrypt everything!

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Encryption without license and key escrow is already illegal in France, they did not enforce it against private citizens though.

  • Not law yet (Score:5, Informative)

    by Soft ( 266615 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @01:33AM (#49627113)

    Only the National Assembly has voted; the bill must also pass the Senate. That said, given the multipartite consensus on it, there's not much chance that the Senate won't pass it.

    You never know, though: given that the Senate is often deemed useless (in France, the Assembly has priority), sometimes it attempts to actually work on the bills, debate in more depth.

    Also, the bill has been submitted to the Constitutional Council (which is unusual, before it's voted on). They too can veto it. We'll see.

    • Re:Not law yet (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @02:58AM (#49627367) Journal

      In any case, the french hosting company altern.org [altern.org] has announced it is definitely moving to Norway.

      Their CEO left this message on their main page, here it is translated:

      Altern shuts its doors... again

      Following the voting of the secret services law in the National Assembly yesterday #PJLRenseignement, the webhosting company Altern closes its services while moving abroad.

      For twenty years Altern.org helped make free speech rights a reality for citizens and residents of this country. During these years political leaders, corporate representatives and assorted top brass of any kind never ceased their efforts at ending this happy period of liberty that the Internet had started.

      We did get plenty of laughs as they scrambled around trying to roll back the sea with Maginot lines of the likes of the Hadopi.
      But today they got the upper hand by forcing us, by law, to install at the heart of our infrastructures "black box" analysers under the sole control of secret services.
      This grip on telecom services induces self-censorship of our public expression and annihilates our privacy on the Internet.

      For us just one day under global surveillance is one day too many.
      Altern.org refuses these secret services black boxes, shuts its doors immediately, and will reopen them in a few days from another country that is more respective of individual liberties.

      • I have mail and many domains at gandi, a french registrar and hoster.

        sigh. I guess if this law passes, I have to transfer my accounts to some new company. even if gandi relocates (I doubt it) they'll still be a french company and therefore, subject to the french set of bullshit laws.

        damn. this is a big hassle. any recommendations for 'good countries' that host domains, etc? swiss? holland? who still has 'good freedom' left?

        • I also use Gandi but only for DNS. As far as I can tell there's not much useful that intelligence agencies could do with that, except get IPs of ISP resolvers that are looking up the names. So I will probably leave things be for now. But I wouldn't buy any other more critical services from them. Shame - seems like a good company.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @01:37AM (#49627141) Journal

    Thinking about all those people that fought in the world wars for our freedom. I wonder if they would have fought if they knew their children would piss every freedom they fought for away in a generation.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

    • How is preventing people from committing acts of terrorism giving away our freedom?

      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @03:03AM (#49627387)

        Simple: This removal of freedoms does not prevent terrorism _at_ _all_. Just read up on things a bit. Like both of the Charlie Hebdo attackers were already under special surveillance, not just the general one they want everybody to be under. It did help not one bit. They were also both idiots, whit one leaving his passport behind when they changed cars.

        Anybody that has looked at the known facts can only conclude that this is bot about fighting terrorism at all.

      • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

        How is preventing people from committing acts of terrorism giving away our freedom?

        Because by the very doctrine rammed down our throats it's our freedom that terrorists hate. So if we were fighting terrorism we would be *increasing* freedom, not destroying it. Giving away our freedom increases terrorism because now society cannot discover what provoked the acts of terrorism in the first place.

        Society in a free country will never be a safe place from anything, however it will be free.

        You should be asking So how does giving away our freedom prevent people from committing acts of terrorism

      • we can solve all crimes by preventing you and everyone else from leaving home.

        we want to solve crimes right?

        (do you NOT see how stupid your post was?)

      • Well considering that it has been reported that the law that is being passed wouldn't have stopped the Charlie Hebdo attacks yet seeks to expand the French government's ability to spy and collect data on its citizens it seems that it wouldn't really prevent terrorism, and actually does take away freedoms. As a side note for other countries, if the US government basically unanimously passes a giant bill shortly after a tragic, but a statistical anomaly, event and that bill couldn't realistically have been cr
      • I think you mean "How is giving away our freedom stopping terrorism. The answer is that it's not, and is in fact FUELING terrorism.
    • That tired old appeal to "what they fought for"

      You know, perhaps you and people like you who spout this drivel should go to a quiet room and consider the difference between mass genocide of jews, gypsies, gays and eastern europeans by the nazis (yes, hello Godwin) plus the indescriminate bombing of civilian populations in Britain and elsewhere, and the recording of your phone conversations and emails on a little black box. Which if you work in any large company is already done anyway and has been for decade

      • Collecting data on the population to know who is jewish, gay, communist etc. and sorting it on electromechanical machines was how the nazis committed their mass genocide.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          Except in this case its being made public knowledge that this can be done. Though frankly I'd be amazed if the facilities to do it haven't been there for years anyway.

          And as you prove by your statement - if a government wants to collect information on its population its been able to do it for centuries. The normans did it in the 11th century with their Domesday Book. This little black box changes nothing.

        • in the WW2 days, the US rounded up japanese americans and put them in 'camps' for 'safe keeping'. quite a shameful thing to do and a black mark on US history ;(

          how did they find the japanese americans?

          CENSUS!

          a lot of us have refused to feed the census since we consider it immoral (given how it was abused in the past). there are good things that come from it, but I'd still rather not take part in it.

          many of us are at the point of being so suspicious of any 'info request' that comes across our desk, my new

      • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @05:56AM (#49627843) Journal
        Yes, it is tired in the context of how it has been twisted and subverted from the fight for freedom to the politicians path to introduce new surveillance tools to cover acts of corruption.

        That tired old appeal to "what they fought for"

        In my context I was thinking of my grandfather who fought in both world wars against the very thing that is happening in our western societies today.

        You know, perhaps you and people like you who spout this drivel should go to a quiet room and consider the difference between mass genocide of jews, gypsies, gays and eastern europeans by the nazis (yes, hello Godwin) plus the indescriminate bombing of civilian populations in Britain and elsewhere,

        Nazism is exactly what I was considering when I posted. How these establishment of police states leads to state sponsored terrorism, which is scarier than fundamentalism in a different way.

        and the recording of your phone conversations and emails on a little black box. Which if you work in any large company is already done anyway and has been for decades.

        Oh, I see. Your one of these people that cheer on the erosion of peoples right to privacy because companies do illegal things. This is best compared to anal fist fucking, you may be a willing participant, but most people would not.

        GTFU!

        All things considered, that's an oxymoronic statement.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          "In my context I was thinking of my grandfather who fought in both world wars"

          We've all got grandparents or great grandparents who fought in something so you can cut off your cross for a start.

          "How these establishment of police states leads to state sponsored terrorism, which is scarier than fundamentalism in a different way."

          Whatever. The exact same "police state" rhetoric arguments was wheeled out when fingerprinting was indroduced, then DNA matching, then CCTV. Change the bloody record.

          • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

            We've all got grandparents or great grandparents who fought in something so you can cut off your cross for a start.

            Well they'll be able to empathize with the situation. It is unlikely that you have ever written to a politician after reading a legislation like this to defend the remaining democracy. I have, so perhaps the best thing you can do is move to north korea or some other military dictatorship to cheer them on, or just STFU and let the rest of us spend our time ensuring the rule of law applies to all in democracies. After all, that is the point of a democracy.

            Whatever.

            What a mature reaction on your part, GTFU.

            The exact same "police state" rhetoric arguments was wheeled out when fingerprinting was indroduced, then DNA matching, then CCTV.

            Yes, and ste

            • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

              "What a mature reaction on your part, GTFU."

              It simply matched the intellectual level of your argument.

              "Yes, and step by step it incrementally becomes more of a police state until someone steps in, uses those powers and it becomes a dictatorship. "

              Oh really? So Stalin and hitler got to power by evesdropping on emails and phone calls did they? You've got a lot to learn about politics my friend and by the sounds of things , life in general.

              "You are the domestic enemy we are warned about."

              Oh look, out comes the

              • by MrKaos ( 858439 )
                You speak the lamentations of a useful idiot, mundane and repetitive.

                "What a mature reaction on your part, GTFU."

                It simply matched the intellectual level of your argument.

                I believe this is where I say, whatever.

                Oh really? So Stalin and hitler got to power by evesdropping on emails and phone calls did they?

                No, they got that way by appealing to the naivety of people such as yourself with simplistic nationalism. Wrapped yourself in a flag lately? Do you think you're a patriot?

                You've got a lot to learn about politics my friend and by the sounds of things , life in general.

                In other words, you've never read a single line of a proposed bill, even for your own country, you don't understand how laws are made and enacted and you have never written a single letter to a politician about anything. Your not in

                • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

                  Take your own advice sonny and grow up. You're obviously just another know it all student arsewipe with lots of words and nothing to say and who thinks rude insults somehow make a killer point. They don't, they just make you sound like an 18 year old idiot. Which you probably are.

                  • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

                    You're obviously just another know it all student arsewipe with lots of words and nothing to say and who thinks rude insults somehow make a killer point.

                    You started the conversation by being rude, I made a point about AFF because it was a component of the legislation in a way to make it personal to you and it looks like it worked.

                    I threw you a rope and offered you an opportunity to state your case about the legislation being discussed or simply not reply so you could maintain your dignity. You chose neither. If you want to blame someone for making you look like a coward, and a fool, blame yourself.

                    They don't, they just make you sound like an 18 year old idiot. Which you probably are.

                    This reveals the core of your reasoning. You make judgement

                    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

                      Congratulations on proving my point.

                      Hope you don't mind - but I'm going to mail your post URL to some mates so they can have a good laugh :o)

                    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )
                      That's the cherry on this discussion you whiney bitch, you've made my day!

                      Congratulations on proving my point.

                      Hope you don't mind - but I'm going to mail your post URL to some mates so they can have a good laugh :o)

                      Go right ahead, it will confirm to them you really are full of shit. Actually tell as many people as you can, that you know personally, so they know you how much of a dickhead you can be.

                      Feel free to humiliate yourself further.

      • GTFU!

        Give The Fuck Up?
        No I would rather continue the political battle to defeat measures like this

        The difference, at least in the US, is with the stuff at my work that belongs to my employer, I do not have any expectation of privacy when using it while with my private e-mail (to some degree), private phone, and private communications sent in a sealed envelope I do have an expectation of privacy. At the same time nations are moving towards more of the soft tyranny the one that does it for your own good. Now tak

      • Yes, it's certainly a great idea to wait until we have perfect parity with Nazis before we fight back against a surveillance police state. The public gains NOTHING from this and we will almost certainly be in MORE danger with LESS freedom.
    • Between unofficially, militarily and secretly recording and storing all and every digital communications
      and
      officially requesting ISPs to maintain a "black box" that records information, at the ISP level, which do you prefer?
    • This "they fought for freedom" thing... you know, when e.g. Americans volunteered to "fight for freedom" in WW2, a hundred thousand of their fellow citizens were in concentration camps simply on account of their ethnicity, and it wasn't exactly secret knowledge - and popular sentiment was largely in favor of that. So it was part of the "freedom" that they fought for. Somehow, I don't think that they would have been outraged by the Patriot Act.

      (Note, I'm not saying that it's a good thing - but don't seek mor

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It has not become law and will not for a while. The current text has passed the lower chamber (Assemblée Nationale). Now it will have to go through the upper chamber (Sénat), which will modify it. After a group of 10 representatives and 10 senators will meet to try to find a common ground. After the lower chamber will vote again. Then there will be challenges to the Conseil Constitutionnel (including by people who have voted the law) to strike down some provisions of the law (and it is so outrageo

  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @01:39AM (#49627153)

    First they create the problem, then they generate the reaction, they they offer the ready made 'solution'

    Perfect use of Hegelian Principle...

    • look, i think this law sucks, but you are paranoid schizophrenic if you think the authorities generated the attack, and generated the outrage

      1.violent religious wackjobs are real

      2. panicky hysterical mob fear is real

      3. overreaching overcontrolling bureaucrats are real

      no one designed all those steps, they all actually happened organically, 1, 2, 3

      this is all a tragedy of human nature, not some plot by a cabal

      and thus we have organic natural step 4: "HERP DERP it's all a secret plot!" says the paranoid nutcas

      • You hardly need to be mentally ill to reach this conclusion. Sure, it's not like there's a grand master plan nailed to a wall somewhere. But to conclude governments helped create this situation all you need to do is read about the background of the attackers [theguardian.com]. Their radicalisation started due to the US invasion of Iraq. When the attackers tried to go to Iraq to fight against the occupation they were arrested and thrown in prison, where they met a radical Islamist.

        No war? Probably the chain of events that led

        • You hardly need to be mentally ill to reach this conclusion

          i stopped reading there

          no, you really do

          to not see how all of the elements in play here are organic is to not understand human nature, and to see instead vast dark conspiracies is, indeed, mental illness

  • Despite of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the French legislature has voted 438 to 86 in favor of the "Intelligence Service Bill"

  • When George Bush said that the terrorists "hate us for our freedom" I had not been expecting that he'd suggest we try giving up our freedoms and see if we're any safer. But I'm not surprised now that the same has happened in France.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      One of times when Bush said something so stupid that it was actually true.

      No-one hates freedom, obviously, but a lot of people hate Americans for their attitude that freedoms are theirs and no-one else's.

  • I would not worry much until the conseil constitutionnel has a look. IIRC the council CAN also look *before* the law get into action, after it was voted as raised by various political organs. So it could very well be that the law will be rejected by the constitutional council if raised by some institution (IIRC, only 60 parliament vote are necessary to check constitutionality, less than was in rejection of the law - 86). Otherwise the process is the same afterward , it go to a higher court in case of judgem
  • As a USAian, I am crying for 65 million people of France for what has just been done to them by those solemnly charged with protecting and serving those people's interest. I know what it's like.

  • Leaving aside all the political questions, I doubt blackboxes are _technically_ possible. The summary said "communications from customers", so that means upstream traffic. With cloud sync data (especially of photos/vids), that's _a_lot_ of data:

    Say uplink is 10 MB/d per user. Over 40M users that is a manageable 400 TB/d, but these laws typically have retention periods, 6 mo being the shortest. That takes 73,000 TB which even over a few dozen ISP sites is a major undertaking. Metadata is ~1% so might

    • The requirements are dynamic. If this doesn't work, they'll morph it into something that does work. This is a process without end.

  • (Just for information.)
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2015 @08:30AM (#49628679) Homepage

    Reactionary was the word we used to describe this sort of behavior.

    A man doesn't need anything but his hands, feet, eyes, and a gun to kill blasphemers. Surveillance is irrelevant. They're making the same damned mistake we did, confusing power and the all-seeing eye with safety. They'll use this to round up Muslims, same as the US does. Innocence or guilt is irrelevant. They'll go into holes for life or get blown up real good.

    The questions remains: who will protect us from the people spying on us? The people behind the spy eyes will change over time. The may even become the people who want to shoot you for blasphemy. Ever think of that? In Saudi Arabia, the all-seeing eye will be on the lookout for women driving cars. In North Korea, they'll be looking out for anyone they damned well want to kill. In South America, for anyone challenging the wealthy's control. In America, straight up they're looking for anyone who dares challenge corporate power - no more draconian surveillance was used here than when Occupy managed to gain some attention. The US managed an unprecedented surveillance and pre-crime arrest sweep during Occupy, showing what secret surveillance was really good for: control of the status quo,.

    Oh well, freedom was nice while it lasted.

  • ...Terrorist attack that highlights issues of freedom vs. tyranny, leads to legislation that highlights issues of freedom vs. tyranny. Cue Alanis Morissette...
  • This is what the attackers want. They want to erode the freedoms of Western secular societies. The Charlie Hebdo attackers have won.

I have a very small mind and must live with it. -- E. Dijkstra

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