Leading French Presidential Candidate Would Repeal HADOPI But Keep Net Surveillance

from the out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire dept

As a recent Techdirt post noted, France’s HADOPI “three strikes” policy has effectively criminalized vast swathes of that country. Despite widespread opposition, the law was pushed through in 2009 by the current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, as one of his pet projects – it’s probably no coincidence that he is married to a pop singer.

Sadly, the damage to online users’ civil liberties caused by HADOPI’s approach of guilt upon accusation is not limited to France: variations on the “three strikes” law have appeared in the UK and New Zealand, and other countries are flirting with the idea of introducing something similar. In addition, Sarkozy used the G8 meeting in Paris this year to call for the “wild west” of the Internet to be regulated ? which presumably means passing even more copyright-friendly laws around the world.

Against that background, news that Sarkozy’s campaign for re-election next year is struggling badly gains an extra interest:

The French Socialist party’s newly elected presidential candidate, Francois Hollande, would score a landslide victory over Nicolas Sarkozy if the election was held tomorrow, according to an opinion poll.

The survey ? the first since Hollande, 57, was nominated as the Socialists’ official candidate ? gave him a crushing 62% of votes against just 38% for the incumbent in the final round of a two-round vote.

With seven months to go before the presidential elections next April and May, anything could happen. But the poll, carried out by CSA and published on Wednesday, shows a level of support never before achieved by a Socialist candidate.

As that points out, there’s still a quite a while to go before the elections, and so Hollande’s election to the Presidency is by no means certain. But given his unprecedented showing at this stage it’s worth looking at what his position would be on HADOPI if he were to win.

Until recently, his views were clear: he voted against HADOPI when it was passing through the French Parliament, and said he wanted it repealed. But a few weeks ago, from total abolition his position shifted to what amounts to only a partial repeal, as revealed in a blog post by his digital policy adviser outlining Hollande’s plans (in French).

To be sure, they contain some good ideas: encouraging more “legal” online music services by making it easier for startups to license music from major record companies, and proposing the creation of a new “remix right”. Most importantly, they will remove the threat of connections being cut if people are accused several times of downloading copyrighted material. Sadly, though, Hollande aims to keep one key aspect of HADOPI ? its surveillance of users:

maintain the mechanism for detecting piracy and warning Internet users (for discussion: as a last resort, the user’s file could be sent to the copyright holders for civil suits)

Clearly, if that point currently marked as “for discussion” were implemented it would give a powerful new weapon to the copyright industries to deploy against those accused of downloading or sharing unauthorized copies. It would probably cause even more of the shake-down schemes we have seen elsewhere to spring up ? with the added twist that the copyright holders would have access to the user’s connection records. That’s clearly a dreadful prospect in terms of preserving people’s privacy online, and would be wide open to abuse.

If Hollande does indeed become the next President of France, let’s hope that he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his predecessor by bringing in such a bad Internet law.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Leading French Presidential Candidate Would Repeal HADOPI But Keep Net Surveillance”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
FuzzyDuck says:

Promises, promises

Once candidates become president they become power hungry and forget their promises, just look at the Obama disappointment. Once in power they like that power. It’s just the way the world works.

Just like Obama extended the Bush era abuse of civil liberties, expect Hollande to do the same with Sarkozy’s policies. After all those critical of Sarkozy won’t criticize “their” man Hollande, just like too many of the Bush era critics are now silent on Obama’s very similar abuses.

Expect more abuse of our civil liberties, not less.

anonymous says:

how many countries are there today that continuously decry dictatorships where they are in operation, only to basically, implement the very laws and the processes used under those dictatorships? democracy doesn’t really exist any more. people in so-called democratic countries are only as free or allowed to do what the corresponding governments say they can do. how can anyone in a so-called democratic country think for one minute that they have ‘freedom’ when they are continuously spied on by governments and corporations, then locked up for doing something that a prick in charge of some ‘security agency’ doesn’t like? looks like world-wide dictatorship is coming and we seem to be powerless or too lazy to do anything about it.

abc gum says:

Re: Re:

“how many countries are there today that continuously decry dictatorships where they are in operation, only to basically, implement the very laws and the processes used under those dictatorships? “

One side of government mouth does not know what the other side of government mouth is saying.

“democracy doesn’t really exist any more.”

Not sure it ever did, anywhere.

“people in so-called democratic countries are only as free or allowed to do what the corresponding governments say they can do.”

And yet the people continue to do these things knowing that the government disallows it. They can spy, taze, spray and generally make life miserable but the total control the governments dream of is a fantasy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Politicians Cannot Help Themselves

Everywhere in the world, politicians just love invading the privacy of ordinary people. Laws are continually passed, at the behest of the 1%, to snoop into the lives of the 99%. Then if the tiniest infringement is found, off to the low court with you. Who will represent the 99%? Who can ordinary people vote for?

More to the point, why do the 99% continually allow themselves to be betrayed?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...