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The French Government wants to spy on electronic communications

3 June, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Französische Regierung will elektronische Kommunikationen überwachen

Macedonian: Француската влада сака да шпионира ел....

On 27 May 2009, the law on orientation and programming for the performance of the domestic security (Loppsi) was presented by Michèle Alliot-Marie to the French Council of Ministers.

The law will give the French police the possibility to physically or remotely install spying software to listen to electronic communications and introduces the Internet filtering by administrative decision.

According to the text, the Criminal Investigation Police will be allowed to place on a suspect's computer a sort of internal or external USB key which will send data to the computers of the authorities. The police may also remotely install Trojans which will give access to all the data in a computer in real time.

The police will be allowed to make use of these tools only in "the most severe cases" which however include "support given to the illegal entry and residence of a foreigner". Under the control of an examining magistrate (juge d'instruction), the investigating authority will have to justify the use of the technique by declaring the infringement investigated, the place where the investigation will take place and its duration. The spyware can be installed for a four-month period that can be renewed once.

The examining magistrate's control would be a positive thing as the examining magistrates are independent from the Ministry of Justice and are free to take decisions, in terms of the gravity of the investigation. However, if the justice reform project of the French Government comes into being, the examining magistrates will disappear which means that the responsibility to authorize spyware will come to the prosecutor of the Republic.

The law also obliges ISPs to block access, "without delay", to sites included on a list drafted under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The list will not be made public and therefore it will be impossible to contest and this will create the risk of abuses.

In order to prevent contestations, for the beginning, the law will target the paedophilic contents with the declared purpose to "protect the Internet users from child pornography images". The operators will have to introduce in their network software that will stop any connection to sites having a pedophile character that will be listed by the police. The French Government will always be able to extend the target by a simple decree.

The text also stipulates severe sanctions for the ISPs that do not observe the law providing a fine up to 75 000 euro and a year of imprisonment.

Loppsi : the sneaks under the authority of an endangered judge (only in French, 25.05.2009)

Loppsi wants to "protect the Internet users" by filtering (only in French, 27.05.2009)

The police will be able to pirate the computers of the yobs (only in French, 25.05.2009)

Loppsi: ISPs will have to "block access without delay" (MAJ) (only in French, 27.05.2009)

Loppsi presented this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers (MAJ) (only in French, 27.05.2009)

Draft law on the orientation and programming for the performance of the domestic security

Decrypting: Sarkozy and his work of controlling the Internet (only in French, 20.05.2009)



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