On 26 November 2013, the French National Assembly discussed the draft of the military programming law which could give the authorities the power to collect, without a judge warrant and in real time, telecom users’ data as a result of an amendment introduced by the Senate in first reading.
Presently the internal security code stipulates that the interception of electronic communications can be authorized in exceptional cases of investigations related to the national security and other serious crimes.
The draft proposes to complete the internal security code to explicitly authorize the gathering, from electronic communications providers, but also from hosting companies and Internet editors, any information or documents treated or kept by their electronic communications networks or services, including (but not limited) to data related to telephone numbers, IP address, geolocalisation of smartphones, the detailed information of a subscriber’s communications such as date, duration and phone numbers called.
Moreover, the draft eliminates any intervention of an independent judge leaving the authority to validate the interception requests to “a qualified person” designated by CNCIS (National Commission for the control of security interceptions) under the proposition of the Prime Minister.
Article 13 of the draft gives the possibility, under the Prime Minister’s authorization, to collect the data in real time, directly from the networks or operators for 30-day renewable periods.
And, as if this was not enough, the draft also extends the types of entities to which the authorities may require the interceptions to the content hosting companies as well, such as Google or Dailymotion.
On 20 November 2013, the Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC), denounced these new provisions and expressed concern regarding “the dirty race in the domain of Internet surveillance,” and asked the Government to stop this text.
“It is time that the French government sets up a moratorium on any adoption of new access powers to the Internet users’ data that would not be subject to any control or authorization by a judge. Faced with CNIL’s inaction, it is urgent that the Ministry of Justice itself launches immediately a complete audit of the current legal framework, of the manner in which this legal framework is pun into force by the authorities and of the extent of the respect of the individual rights and freedoms”, stated ASIC members.
Real time data collection by the State, illegal but cleared (update, only in French, 25.11.2013)
Internet Surveillance Internet : concerns over the military programming law (only in French, 27.11.2013)
Internet Surveillance, access to the users’ data: for a moratorium on the regime of exceptions! (only in French, 21.11.2013)
Military programming law : enlarged and institutionalised digital spying (only in French, 26.11.2013)
The Assembly adopts the real-time collection of data by the state (only in French, 29.11.2013)
A Move Towards Generalised Internet Surveillance in France? (4.12.2013)