LOPPSI 2 French law – to block or not to block websites

By EDRi · January 27, 2010

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Deutsch: [Französisches LOPPSI 2 Gesetz – Internet sperren oder nicht sperren | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1680]

The members of the Law Commission of the French National Assembly have
issued their first amendments to LOPPSI 2 draft law that is to be discussed
in the Assembly starting with 9 February 2010.

If adopted as such, the law will oblige ISPs to block the access to the
sites included on a list established by the French administration without
any judicial control, under the pretext of the protection of children. “When
the need to fight against the dissemination of images and representations of
minors according to the provisions of article 227-23 of the criminal code
justifies it, the administrative authority notifies the persons mentioned at
item 1 (i.e.ISPs) the Internet addresses of online public communication
services that are subject to the provisions of this article for which these
persons must prevent the access without delay” says article 4 of the law.

Some of the amendments proposed by the Law Commission refer exactly to this
law article. The amendment submitted by deputies Patrick Braouzec and Michel
Vaxès actually proposes the deletion of the article arguing that it does not
really solve the child pornography issue. They even argued that this
approach could be a mistake as filtering will allow hiding the evolution of
the phenomenon. They also consider that anyway those who perform child
pornography crimes and disseminate such content on the Internet are very
capable of getting around any filtering techniques by using crypting and
anonimisation methods thus being “paradoxically, better protected”. The two
opponents also argued that the filtering measures are against the
jurisprudence of the Constitutional Council if they eliminate the judicial
authority from the process. Also, in their opinion, the system attacks the
network neutrality and filtering should be applied at the level of the
computers such as parental filtering software.

Deputies Lionel Tardy and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan submitted two separate but
similar amendments. While the first is asking for an agreement from the
judicial authority before the application of filtering techniques ordered by
the administrative authority to ISPs, the second proposes the elimination of
the administrative authority from the process to be replaced entirely by the
judicial one.

Lionel Tardy also proposes to force the administrative authority to specify
to the ISPs which are the filtering techniques they can use to block
paedophilic sites. “The law must not resume to ordering the blocking of the
access to certain Internet sites, but indicate to ISPs what techniques
they may use. The obligation they bear should be an obligation of means and
for that, the means that can be put in force must be listed” said the

The inefficiency of the filtering technique has been revealed several times
by many experts and as was proven by a recent report issued in November last
year “Internet Blocking: Balancing Cybercrime Responses in Democratic
Societies.” The study concludes that the blocking measures are ineffective.
Many technical ways exist to get around blocking technologies. More
importantly, the blocking measures are intrusive and often abuse fundamental

Similar arguments on over-blocking were raised by Aurélien Boch from
Internet users association OBEDI who explained: “when an address is
filtered, all the sites hosted by the same server will be filtered whether
it is the site of Nouvel Observateur or a pornographic site.” He also
pointed out that “as the list will be secret, it will be impossible to
verify which sites are filtered”.

Loppsi : the first amendments on Internet filtering (only in French,

Draft law on orientation and programming for internal security (n° 1697)-
Amendements received by the Commission for Laws of the National Assembly
(only in French)

Loppsi law programmed on 9 February in the National Assembly (only in
French, 25.01.2010)

Loppsi law arrives on the Assembly’s desks (only in French, 21.01.2010)

EDRi-gram: Internet blocking gets a red card ! (4.11.2009)

EDRi-gram: France: CNIL’s opinion on LOPPSI draft law (29.07.2009)