A petition to block France’s controversial new snooping law has topped 100,000 signatures.
The French National Assembly is about to fast-track a law which would allow widespread snooping powers. The Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement would allow law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor mobile metadata and access personal information about anyone suspected of being linked to terrorism.
The petition organisers say they are “normal citizens who refuse to live in a digital police state. We refuse to legalise a French NSA which would store everything on everyone”.
The petition asks for the law to be withdrawn completely.
“We refuse to legalise the right for the secret service to read any email, listen to any phone conversation, read any SMS,” adds the petition on change.org.
The controversial bill was presented to parliament by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and following the Charlie Hebdo attacks has garnered widespread support from French lawmakers.
However, the text of the law was drawn up before the attack and civil liberties activists have accused the government of attempting to “blackmail” the public with the threat of terrorism.
Legal experts have also raised questions about the scope of the law. Its wording is very broad and includes major industrial and scientific interests of France as being potentially related to terrorism, warned Diane Mullenex of full service legal firm Pinsent Masons.
The Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has also weighed in, and described the law as a serious threat to the right to privacy, with insufficient checks and balances.
The law as it is currently worded does not include any judicial oversight, meaning that suspicion alone could be enough to put citizens under surveillance. ®