France: more than 50 000 signatures against EDVIGE

By EDRi · July 30, 2008

The mobilization against EDVIGE, the newly created database to be used by
French intelligence services and the administrative police, has been
growing. Within only two weeks, the petition was signed by more than 50 000
individuals and 500 organizations.

French Parliamentarians are also standing up against EDVIGE: not only more
than 40 of them have signed the petition, but 10 have addressed written
questions to the French Interior Minister, to ask for the withdrawal of this

Complaints against the French government have also started. Lesbian and gay
associations are asking the HALDE (High Authority for the Fight against
Discriminations) to give its opinion on the fact that EDVIGE will retain
data on the sexual orientation and health. Other complaints are starting to
be filed with the French highest administrative court for the annulment of
the decree creating EDVIGE.

It also seems that the French government is trying to circumvent the French
Data Protection Authority (CNIL) in the future. Following an inquiry from
the HALDE president, French Minister of Interior Michèle Alliot-Marie
proposed that the HALDE be consulted prior to any new database creation,
while this is actually the CNIL legal attribution. The HALDE indicated that
it has never formulated such a request.

This is happening while the French Congress has just approved, with only a
two votes majority, important changes in the Constitution. One of them is to
replace many independent administrative authorities by a single “Fundamental
Rights Defender”, to be nominated by the French president and whose role
would be to control the respect of fundamental rights by the administration,
and report only to the president and to the Parliament. While the list of
existing authorities to be replaced by this new institution is still to be
determined by law, one may wonder whether the HALDE and the CNIL will still
exist in their current form, and whether such a change would strengthen or,
on the contrary, weaken their current prerogatives.

EDRi-gram: Enditorial: Massive Mobilization Against Edvige, The New French
Database (16.07.2008)

Newropeans : Edwige : Sarkozy, the current EU chairman, tries to set up a
police state in France (18.07.2008)

Heise: Frankreich: Geheimdienst-Datenbank “Edvige” beunruhigt die
Öffentlichkeit (in German only, 23.07.2008)–/meldung/113202

‘Non à EDVIGE’: Petition website, with actions, press releases and press
articles (only in French, since 10.07.2008)

(Contribution by Meryem Marzouki, EDRI-member IRIS- France)