French Government Looks To Create Great Firewall Of France

from the following-in-the-footsteps-of-china dept

It was just a few weeks ago that Nicolas Sarkozy brought together a bunch of techies at the e-G8 to tell them that he wanted to start regulating the internet much more seriously. Apparently, he's not wasting much time. There's a draft executive order making the rounds that would give the French government wide latitude in censoring the internet throughout France. It really sounds quite similar to China's "Great Firewall."
To implement article 18 of the law for the Digital Economy of June 21th, 2004, the French government is proposing to give to several of its ministries the power to order the censorship of online content that harms or otherwise puts at risk public order and security, the protection of minors, of public health, national defence, or physical persons.

Clearly, the definition of these categories of content are both vague and overreaching. Such censorship measures – whether they consist in the removal or filtering of content – would be directly undertaken by the government, without any decision by a judicial authority. In practice, they would apply to all kinds of websites or online news services.
This isn't going to go over well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    And these regulations, once implemented will not be circumventable.
    LOL

     

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  2.  
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    Tor (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    I'm quite sure any law along those lines would violate the European Convention on Human Rights (restrictions on human rights must according to case law be necessary in a democratic society, respond to a pressing social need, be foreseeable and be clearly defined in the law - none of which seems to be the case here), but it's still worrying to see high politicians contribute to the potential normalization of such authoritarian methods.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    If only that damned blogger wouldn't have alluded to Sarkozy and Bruni having affairs outside of their marriage in 2010... its all been downhill from there for the French.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Optimism again

    "This isn't going to go over well."

    Mike, you're such the eternal optimist. I predict strong apathy on the part of the vast majority of people, and some grandstanding politicians that will ultimately accept vague meaningless promises that it won't be abused and stop fighting, pretending it's a great victory.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Optimism again

    I predict anonymous intervention

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    6, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Iz ok guais, z Frenchies will just have z revolution agin!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    MAFIAAFire, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    No worries...

    Have no fear we are already working on something that is going to put a dent into the French governments plans... as well as others who wish to censor the net.

    Cheers!
    MAFIAAFire

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    France

    The next time the Germans invade France, we should let them keep it.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: France

    Why would they want to? For the bad wine, frogs and snails?

     

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  10.  
    icon
    Benny6Toes (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    This is truly saddening. The beauty of the internet is that, with few exceptions, information generally flows freely across national borders. Information and culture is freely shared in the online community, and it has all been humming along just fine for the past couple of decades; increasing our understanding of one another.

    Efforts, such as this one, to put up national borders in the digital space will impact that shared understanding and bring plenty of negatives along with it. And for what? People in France will still be able to access banned information if they want. In the same way that I could walk across the border between the USA and Canada at any number of points without going through an official border crossing, users seeking banned information will just have to take a slightly more circuitous route to find it.

    And all the rest of us need to worry about as a result is increased censorship. Terrific.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re: Optimism again

    Actually, the French people probably will be quite actively against it. They're not nearly as apathetic as Americans.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: France

    Hairy women who don't shower?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: France

    You're right, lets give it to the Italians

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    This simply won't be allowed

    We will not permit mere governments to get in the way. Whatever they do will be bypassed, circumvented, hacked, and destroyed.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Humanism

    What happened to the Great Enlightenment emanating from free thinkers of the Renaissance? France is now leading the way into the great new Dark Ages. Congratulations, France!

     

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  16.  
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    anonymous, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    seems to me that it is about time 'Napoleon' Sarkosy got his comeuppance! i cant see this going down very well with the French citizens. what makes me so cross is that everything that is happening now concerning the world's internet, all seemed to start with the copyright/entertainment industries, their failure to adapt and general need to gain complete control of it. they had no idea then and have no idea now how big a can of worms was being opened.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    You misspelled "French Government Wants To Return To The Middle Ages" in the title.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    -, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Thank God I wasn't born French.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    -, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    Sad but true. Too bad they are so influential in the EU.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Irving, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Careful, Sarkozy

    If the French are good at anything besides cooking they are good at revolution.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Who knew the French government would be so helpful in driving the creation of tools to circumvent censorship and make people more anonymous. May the french politicians live in interesting times.

     

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  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: No worries...

    Escalation meet evolution.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    I guess the French don't remember the Maginot line. It took Hitler a few extra hours but they got to Paris on time. But after all they are French.
    Sacrebleu! They know not what they do. Voltaire would have wept.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Optimism again

    Anonymous Coward, predicts anonymous intervention ;)

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    sam sin, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    rather strange that so many governments of so-called 'civilized countries' are condemning and fighting against dictatorships elsewhere, whilst at the same time trying to set up dictatorships in their own countries. what the hell is the world coming to??!!

     

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  26.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    All of the but but but's in one sentence

    French government is proposing to give to several of its ministries the power to order the censorship of online content that harms or otherwise puts at risk public order and security, the protection of minors, of public health, national defence, or physical persons. Apparently they cannot spell DEFENSE.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Great Dump of France, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Greaaaaaaaat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: All of the but but but's in one sentence - actually more US ignorance

    Apparently they cannot spell DEFENSE

    No they just learnt their English in England where defence is the correct spelling...

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    Pirates brought this on. They are the ones to blame.

    You reap what you sow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    taoareyou (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: All of the but but but's in one sentence

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re: No worries...

    well I hope all goes well.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: All of the but but but's in one sentence - actually more US ignorance

    LOL.

     

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  33.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    Voltaire would have wept.

    Nah, he'd have loved this. Protecting "Moral Rights" and all.

     

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  34.  
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    Miff (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Because we all know China's firewall is absolutely impenetrable.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    A Monkey with Atitude, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Ha, pull the other one, it has bells on it

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    John Williams, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: sam sin

    He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Friedrich Nietzsche

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

    Will this firewall work in reverse? That is, will it block anything having to do with France for those us outside of France?

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

    French government doing it for the Lulz, challenge to all you hackers, bet you cannot bipass that. Le Sigh.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    MAFIAAFire, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: No worries...

    We have been called many things, evolution is not one of them.

    Quite flattered really :)

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Le Sigh???

     

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  41.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: France

    You've obviously never been near a Frenchwoman then :) Don't hold them to your local hillbilly standards...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re:

    It's as much, if not more, about 'cultural imperialism'. The French have always resented that their contributions to culture "ended with the word 'chauffeur'" (quoted courtesy of Bill Bryson). They are also terrified of their language being 'diluted' or 'corrupted' by English, hence why they have big national organisations to preserve it.

    For obvious reasons, the internet is full of English which will 'destroy' French civilisation. Add to that the 'endemic rot' of American film and TV going into popular culture and you have an easy vote-winner for right-wing politicians who want to play a more subtle nationalist card.

     

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  43.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    Re: All of the but but but's in one sentence

    Apparently, you cannot spell: Gouvernement; français; Défense, or even Apparemment. (According to French spelling.)

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    I am getting really sick of the Elite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    Re: This simply won't be allowed

    UK, US, France, Sweden, New Zealand, etc.

    Where do they expect the rip-off types to live nowadays?

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Major, Jun 17th, 2011 @ 1:29am

    Re: Re: This simply won't be allowed

    Where do they expect the rip-off types to live nowadays?


    I think they call it "The Government" nowaday...

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    jcfrog, Jun 17th, 2011 @ 3:52am

    We're not afraid! :)

    We (froggies)will try to change this in 2012! #elections
    All around the world governments are noobs, we are not afraid, we are one, we are all together, online, no firewall will stop us! ;)
    #peace #love #internet #global

     

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  48.  
    icon
    Benny6Toes (profile), Jun 17th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    So you're saying that a small fraction of a percent of people is justification for putting a giant firewall around a country and bringing national borders into the digital space more than they already are? I find that difficult to believe.

    It's more likely this has to do with the fraction of the fraction of the percent of the world's population that are pedophiles. Clearly, this is about protecting the children...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    mbi, Jun 18th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: France

    Godwin, so soon...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    7, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    But I am le tired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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