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Hundreds protest against ‘heavily intrusive’ surveillance bill in France

5 May 2015 8:13


Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in the French capital city of Paris to show their anger at a new controversial bill that would give the intelligence services sweeping espionage powers, Press TV reports.

The protesters gathered in Paris on Monday to express their dissatisfaction with the “heavily intrusive” intelligence bill, which is expected to be approved in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“France is a country that already has a very powerful executive branch, and this will erode our balance of power even further. There is no judicial oversight and everyone can be threatened as a potential danger,” a protester (shown below) told Press TV.

According to the draft law, officials will be able to monitor the digital and mobile communications of anyone believed to be linked to a “terrorist” investigation without prior authorization from a judge. Moreover, internet service providers and phone companies will be compelled to give up data upon request.

The draft bill came four months after the January 7-9 attacks in the French capital, including one against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a supermarket. A total of 17 people were killed in the attacks.

If approved, the law would allow authorities to place cameras and recording devices in private dwellings and mount key-logger devices that record every key stroke on a computer.

“This is something that can spiral out of control very easily and produce major abuses. I’m deeply attached to freedom of expression and personal liberty, and this makes me worry about the type of country our children will grow up in,” another demonstrator said.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International warned on Monday that the draft bill, proposed as an ostensible counter-terrorism measure, will grant French authorities extensive powers to monitor people online and offline.

“This bill would take France a step closer to a surveillance state, where nothing is secret except the surveillance itself,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia.

The French National Digital Council, an independent advisory body, has also expressed its opposition to the bill, likening it to “mass surveillance.”

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