French file EDVIGE revised after huge civil society mobilization

By EDRi · September 24, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Following a very strong opposing movement, the decree allowing the creation
of EDVIGE file has been abandoned by the French Government, but it will be
replaced by a modified project called now EDVIRSP.

On 1 July 2008, the French Government had announced a project creating a
huge database, EDVIGE (Exploitation documentaire et valorisation de
l’information générale – Documentary exploitation and valorisation of
general information) which would have systematically gathered information on
any person having applied for or exercised a political, union or economical
mandate or playing a significant institutional, economical, social or
religious part as well as information on any person considered by the police
as a “suspect” potentially capable of disrupting the public order.

The decree was very rapidly and strongly opposed by a large number of
associations, organizations, political parties, unions and individuals.
Almost 200 000 signatures and 1200 associations have supported a petition
against the decree and 12 organizations, among which four main labour
unions, main Lesbian and Gay associations, the French Human Rights League,
and French EDRi-member IRIS, have filed a complaint before the French
highest administrative court to have this decree cancelled. As a result, the
French Government has given up the decree and the prime minister’s office
announced on 18 September a new decree having in view a modified file called
EDVIRSP (Exploitation documentaire et valorisation de l’information relative
à la sécurité publique – Documentary exploitation and valorisation of
information related to public security).

Differently from EDVIGE, the new file will explicitly exclude information
related to people’s health or sexual orientation, but will keep other
sensitive personal data such as ethnical origin, as well as political,
philosophical, religious opinions or union affiliation. In addition, it
will no longer allow police to collect data in the same file on people
belonging to political parties, unions or religious groups only because of
their activities. The criteria for data gathering will be related to
perceived security threats.

Although a first victory for the opponents of EDVIGE, the new decree is
still far from being satisfactory. The new text still allows the police to
store data on minors starting the age of 13 if they are considered a threat
to public safety. A “right to oblivion” was also introduced meaning the data
gathered on minors is to be deleted when coming of age 18, except for the
case when a new element occurs between 16 and 18, where the data is deleted
at 21.

The 12 organizations having filed the complaint against EDVIGE, together
with the large coalition of petition signatories, consider it is
unacceptable for the database to include minors, especially when they
haven’t committed any offence, and ask for stronger guarantees that
citizens’ rights and freedoms would be respected, starting from their right
to the presumption of innocence. They continue to call for the withdrawal of
the entire decree.

The new project has been sent to The French Data Protection Authority
(Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) which should give
its opinion in a month.

Opponents to the database have called for a day of demonstrations on 16
October, on the occasion of Sainte Edwige’s day of the Roman Catholic

Files: from Edvige to EDVIRSP, a capital change (only in French, 21.09.2008)

Edvige:”insufficient rebound” (SM) (only in French, 20.09.2008)

EDVIGE file becomes EDVIRSP (only in French, 20.09.2008)

Edvige file : the opponents stay vigilant (only in French, 19.09.2008)

RAS – Petition in order to obtain the abandoning of EDVIGE file (only in

France drops plan for political database after row (18.09.2008)

EDRi-gram: ENDitorial: Massive mobilization against EDVIGE, the new French
database (16.07.2008)