The French Surveillance State

Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France has presented yet another antiterrorism bill to Parliament. French lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved a sweeping antiterrorism bill in September, are scheduled to debate the new bill this month. Mr. Valls argues that the bill’s sweeping new provisions for government surveillance are necessary to monitor potential terrorist-related activity, especially on the Internet and cellphones.

Mr. Valls, who announced the bill on the day after the deadly attack at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis and as France still reels from the terrorist attacks in Paris in January, has assured the nation that the bill “is not a French Patriot Act,” a comparison to America’s post-9/11 law. But, in a statement on the bill, the Digital Council, which advises the French government about technology’s effects on society, referred specifically to Edward Snowden’s revelations of the extent of United States government surveillance, warning that the bill proposed by Mr. Valls would open the door to similar excesses in France.

Share