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NGO coalition calls on French Parliamentarians

NGO coalition calls on French Parliamentarians to reject new disproportionate international Surveillance law

30 September 2015

Brussels, Belgium - Today, a coalition of more than 20 NGOs and digital rights groups, including Access, sent a letter to the representatives of the French National Assembly - the lower Chamber of the French Parliament - calling for the rejection of yet another surveillance bill. The bill, Proposition de loi relative aux mesures de surveillance des communications électroniques internationales, fails to protect the right to privacy of individuals around the world.

“This new surveillance bill introduces measures that are disportionate in scope and purpose, contains unjustified and excessive data retention periods, lacks provisions for judicial oversight, and does not have a clear mechanism for remedy. It could hardly get any worse than that,” said Estelle Massé, Policy Analyst at Access. “All of this is being decided through emergency procedure, removing all possibility for democratic debate.”

This bill follows the French Intelligence law passed in June, which authorises the French government to monitor the phone calls and emails of suspected terrorists without judicial oversight, and to install black boxes on internet service providers' infrastructure to collect and analyse the metadata of millions of innocent individuals. Shortly after its passage, the Constitutional Courtdeclared that the provision in the Intelligence law authorising the surveillance of communications in third countries is unconstitutional. The new Surveillance bill revises the language in this provision to re-authorise the surveillance programmes that have already been declared unconstitutional.

“Through the Snowden revelations, we learned that French intelligence services have been - and are still - conducting mass surveillance activities,” said Estelle Massé. “Rather than reforming its surveillance practices, France seeks to use this vaguely worded bill as an attempt to legitimise practices that have been in place for many years. Human rights violations remain unresolved and unaddressed.”

The bill will be voted upon on October 1st. Access urges representatives from the French Parliament to reject this proposal and prevent further human rights abuses.

ENDS

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