France And Canada Both Move To Massively Expand The Surveillance State

from the because-reasons dept

Just as we’re (finally) having something of a debate in the US about at least rolling back some of the worst aspects of the PATRIOT Act and the surveillance state (though, not nearly enough), it appears that both France and Canada are moving in the other direction. In France, they’re using the Charlie Hebdo attacks as an excuse for a massive surveillance expansion, that not only will lead to the government collecting and sifting through much more information, but with less oversight:

At a moment when American lawmakers are reconsidering the broad surveillance powers assumed by the government after Sept. 11, the lower house of the French Parliament took a long stride in the opposite direction Tuesday, overwhelmingly approving a bill that could give authorities their most intrusive domestic spying abilities ever, with almost no judicial oversight.

The bill, in the works since last year, now goes to the Senate, where it seems likely to pass, having been given new impetus in reaction to the terrorist attacks in and around Paris in January, including at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher grocery, that left 17 people dead.

And then we see Canada doing the same thing:

Widespread protest and souring public opinion has failed to prevent Canada?s ruling Conservative Party from pushing forward with sweeping anti-terror legislation which a battery of legal scholars, civil liberties groups, opposition politicians and pundits of every persuasion say will replace the country?s healthy democracy with a creeping police state.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is looking forward to an easy victory on Tuesday when the House of Commons votes in its final debate on the bill, known as C-51. But lingering public anger over the legislation suggests that his success in dividing his parliamentary opposition may well work against him when Canadians go to the polls for a national election this fall.

Despite widespread protests and concerns about both laws, the governments in both countries are just pushing forward , spreading FUD left and right to try to paper over why they need to absolutely destroy the privacy rights of the public. It appears that governments around the globe are seeing world events as a convenient excuse to ratchet up their own power, while taking away rights from citizens. In both countries, leaders supporting these measures talk about ISIS and “jihadi terrorism” and completely dismiss the complaints about a lack of oversight. However, in both cases, what little oversight there is of the new surveillance capabilities is very much of the rubber stamp variety. First, in France:

The only judicial oversight is a provision that allows the commission to lodge a complaint with the Council of State, but lawyers are dubious that they could be convened on a routine basis. The Council of State functions as a legal adviser to the executive branch of government and a supreme court for matters of administrative law.

And then in Canada:

Critics of the legislation say the imminent law gives Canadian spies sweeping new powers to investigate and disrupt broadly defined threats to public safety, with language that makes no distinction between terrorist plots and legitimate political protests and demonstrations. At the same time, it neglects to provide any increased oversight of the country?s vastly empowered chief spy agency, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

Whatever happened to countries that respected liberty and freedom?

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Comments on “France And Canada Both Move To Massively Expand The Surveillance State”

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Ramon Creager (profile) says:

"Left" or "Right", they're all the same

This neatly illustrates what’s wrong with the political systems of the West. Canada’s government by the Conservative Party, France by the Socialist Party. The people of France turned to the Socialists in response to the Euro crisis and other problems. What they got is more of the same. It’s like flipping a broken switch.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Left" or "Right", they're all the same

… Socialists and Capitalists are two sides of the same coin.

Capitalism is much more an economic, not political or philosophical theory. We live within a mixed economy; lots of gov’t regulatory influence leasing the people’s assets to moneyed interests, and legislators peddling influence. That is socialism (“they” take care of it “for us”), or crony-capitalism. The connected moochers clean up.

This calls for a political solution, not economic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

NSA and US gov do not orchestrate per se. What is happening is envy: This is the secret services in other countries arguing that they are at a disadvantage in information gathering and trading and demanding the same rights as NSA has had for years. NSA or US govt. doesn’t orchestrate, but envy from as powerful a force as a secret service (terrorism) or private companies (job-creation) can make politicians extremely irrational and irresponsible.

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Thank Islam for this...

Your “power-hungry government” is ELECTED. Remember that? All those crazy “anti-terrorist” laws are quite popular.

Isn’t it what democracy all about? Rule of the people?

What you’re seeing here is western democracy at deadlock: the correct (tried-and-working) way to stop this isis-elkaida-jihad-and-the-rest is brutal war. To US folks: no, Vietnam is not example of such; WWII or crusades is. But, you can’t engage in such war, because of human-rights-war-crimes-other-weird-ideas.
Result – insane surveillance laws that fix no problem and just waste taxpayer’s money.

As inaction continue, expect to see more of it, not less.

Max (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No.

If even now, when people are more aware of and more riled up against surveillance than they’ve ever been, if even now there’s jack-all they can do against it, then why exactly are we calling this a democracy?!? When the sum of your choices are either the Left Shark or the Right Shark, how exactly is this a “rule” of the people, pray tell? “Democracy” was never more than a pipe dream, so please stop waving it around like it’s a thing that means anything at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No.

Even in the “two-party” US there are other parties. It’s the electorate who chooses not to vote for them. Even if there truly were only two candidates, the populace chooses not to try their own hand as a candidate and offer themselves as another candidates. Stop trying to make excuses for the electorate. It refuses to vote for other candidate. There is no one to blame but itself.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No.

What AC @ 11.34am says.

People CHOOSE to vote for Kodos or Kang because they’re afraid that either Kang or Kodos will get in if they don’t. However, voter turnout tends to be low, so either Kodos or Kang will get in by default even if you do open up your mind a crack and vote third party.

So what do you do? Get. More. Folks. To. Vote, damn it! The more people we can persuade to a) get out and vote, then b) vote third party, the better. THEN you’ll see change.

People keep waiting for a great savior to ride in on a white horse. Well they’ll be waiting forever. BE the change you want to see.

For the record, I don’t just vote Pirate myself, I ask everyone (and a fair few that I don’t) I know to vote Pirate too.

Teamchaos (profile) says:

Re: Thank Islam for this...

Not Islam, radical Islam. Islam is to radical Islam as the Southern Baptists are to the KKK.

To expand on your point, without the increase in terrorism – no justification for the new laws.

But – if the terrorists succeed in turning countries into police states – they’ve probably won haven’t they.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Thank Islam for this...

Make sure to give credit where credit is due.

If we’re making strings of credit, then it should go back further, right? Radical Islam is often creating terrorist attacks in response to Western policies that they feel were unfair and impeded on their own views and ideas. And, of course, those Western policies were in response to other moves by leadership in the middle eastern region, and those were in response to… hell, we could go back to the dinosaurs and the fact that they died and created all this oil in the ground.

Maybe, rather than blaming whichever part of that ongoing cycle you hate, we should STOP DOING STUPID SHIT that simply continues the ongoing cycle?

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Thank Islam for this...

> Maybe, … we should STOP DOING STUPID SHIT that simply continues the ongoing cycle?

Oh, you mean stop playing “world policemen” role? Definitely, go ahead. Give up those aircraft carriers, ICBM’s, nuclear subs and so on and so forth. You don’t need all this to protect yourself (who’s going to invade US anyway?).

However, if you still think that tribe X killing tribe Y somewhere in Middle East is your business – don’t cry about “radical islam”.

Teamchaos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Thank Islam for this...

At the conference table and in the minds of men, the free world’s cause is strengthened because it is just. But it is strengthened even more by the dedicated efforts of free men and free nations. As the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

JFK 1961

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Thank Islam for this...

we could blame the US government for funding, aiding and training terrorists throughout the decades. From Al Qaeda to ISIS more recently.

Though how could they have known that supporting dangerous radicals would backfire on them again and again when the US decided to meddle in the countries they set the radicals up in.

Anonymous Coward says:

good old USA! they started this crap and now others are getting on the band wagon, they cant stop what is going to happen, ie, be spied on just as it was/is spying on everyone else. the Snowden leaks mad us all aware of what was going on. the USA were quite happy with what they had been up to but then got the hump when those being spied on found out about it. spying back on the USA was the obvious step and, as usual, the US doesn’t like it when others do the same as it!

Anonymous Coward says:

look around the world and see just how many other countries that are engaged in this total surveillance crap are based on Conservative led governments and ideas. these governments are after total control of who does what, where, when and how and want to ensure that everyone’s daily travels, whether on the ground, in the air, on the sea or on the Internet are duly logged. their main aim is to get the Planet working as a giant corporation, which benefits only those allowed to benefit, (the completely wealthy already!) and that definitely does NOT include all us ordinary mortals!!

Anonymous Coward says:


Sessenbrunner, that dipshit.

The other guy who’s district includes Fort Meade, well he has to be sold to them from the start.

I wonder what will happen in Canada. Ex still alive prime ministers, scholars, judges, lawyers etc. all were invited by the Official Opposition (the party who got the second most votes basically dictates who speaks the most to Harperyahu and make him look like an idiot all the time during parliamentary debates. Mulcair grills him everytime, but not many people care, not many people listen to even passing political comments in the radio morning shows or watch the Parliament channel(s) (one for Ottawa, one for your province’s Capital) so they don’t know.

After hockey, our most favourite sport in Canada is protesting in the summer or in the sometimes ridiculously cold winter,unions do it the most since unions have loads of power in this country. I imagine they’ll leave these alone, but if there’s a sudden protest against 75% tuition fees hike for College in a province like in Quebec in 2012 (where students partially won) or a protest against a foreign war (Iran 2018, it’s so obvious it’ll be in 2018, even if the talks seem 80% positive, domestic wrench in the machines like Congress will prevent Obama from doing something that really would have saved a tiny bit of his dignity. But no, it’s like he barely tried to keep his Senate majority, and don’t get me started on how the democrats just stayed home in 2010…

All of this was in your hands. Ever watched the british movie from 1983 or something like that called Threads ? War with Iran, means NATO engaging the SCO and we will all fry. Don’t talk to me about limited nuclear warfare, have a few tactical nukes go off and the strategic ones will be activated and if, talks, if any, I’d be surprised if there were any, These people will go in their underground government bunkers which have reserves for about 100 years for a certain amount of people and it’s not tiny stuff, there’s tunnels which are very large. The only problem is that have a certain amount of strategic nukes go off (not a lot), and the ozone layer goes poof instantly.That’s what caused the ozone layer holes by the way, the nuclear tests which were so randomly and done in insane amounts enough, and people wonder why cancer rates keep rising.

I’ve actually given up, I don’t think that if Harper goes back to Minority or if Trudeau becomes PM, or a Liberal-NDP coalition takes form, that they will delete all the ILLEGAL “laws” Helmet Head Adolf Harper has introduced since he has the ability to do so unopposed since 2011, where he was re-elected, but that election was caused by the 3 other parties submitting a vote of non-confidence in him! Thus dissolving parliament starting elections, starting election fraud techniques by the conservatards (proven), 2 MP’s lost their seat because of this, it should be about 20 to 25 MP’s according to the stats.

Why would they? The NDP back when the guy who brought them to second place was alive, Jack Layton, would have never accepted the removal of everything related to social-democracy from the party’s constitution. Which Mulcair did.
I’m intrigued in how they will deal with the constant union protests, arrest them all and send them to air force bases forever? Suddenly all the government day cares and primary schools are empty (this group of people protest very often and get what they want only when one party gets in power unfortunately, except for Students who waged a complete street war against the Montreal cops for 14 months.

Thankfully I have nothing to protest about and I am not unionized. But I will protest any kind of Canadian adventure of following the Americans (who will likely be following the Israelis, although, apparently, Obama told Israelis he would shoot down their F-16’s who were on the way to attack Iran if they didn’t turn back and stayed home in january 2014 or so, it didn’t make the big news in america or here in Canada but it made the news all over eurasia) to bomb Iran. The counterpart to NATO exists now since a long time, and that’s even why you’re not leaving Afghanistan afterall, cos if you did, the chinese would build them roads and leave their political system alone in exchange for them to plunder all proven reserves of lithium and rare earths in Afghanistan plus connect that “Peace Pipeline” that goes from Iran to Pakistan to them. It used to be IPI but India abandoned after extreme harrassment from Bush & Co. which was continued with Obama and Co. circa 2008-9.

While America continues to dream of the…well all the money invested in bombing, occupying, killing and raping Afghans since 2001 just for that godddamn TAPI pipeline (Turkemnistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India). Meanwhile China has built pipelines to Turkmenistan and will build more to steal all the oil and gas (mostly gas, extremely large reserves) America’s PNAC imagined pipelines wanted in return, Clinton tried to have a deal with them, Bush tried before 911, Obama tried for a little while a couple years ago and we know how that ended.

The big question is the Empire going out with a whimper or will throw feces to the whole planet while going down?

Seems like column B and that’s a scary prospect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: proREGRESS

Well, I’m just a little happier. I didn’t know Alberta(the province Harper pretends to comes from) had provincial elections today.

The effin’ NDP won. They beat the Progressive-Conservatives who were running the government since the Nixon days. If the Manitoba wall fell, I smell good news regarding this asperger’s suffering PM and his knuckledragging darling of a defense minister John Baird. And that OTHER right wing party that used to be the real opposition to the to PC, the Wild Rose party or whatever Sarah Pahlin-ish name they had finished way third. I don’t even know if Alberta has a Liberal Party though. But the NDP is better, they never had power at the federal level, but with Alberta voting them in at the provincial level…that just breaks many of the ominous wall of austerity and destruction of the planet occuring in alberta with all that tar sands crap. Keystone XL won’t happen hah.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: proREGRESS

The effin’ NDP won. They beat the Progressive-Conservatives who were running the government since the Nixon days.

Note that when you say “running” here, it’s pretty much an absolute. At one time years ago, the capitol’s newspaper declared itself to be the official opposition, as no opposition candidates had been elected. It’s been like that since Social Credit days (’50s).

The oil industry must be having conniption fits about now.

Personanongrata says:

Serfs Up Peons

Whatever happened to countries that respected liberty and freedom?

These faux republics and democracies do not care about opinion polls they simply act to preserve the status quo at the expense of their nations subjects liberties.

These French and Canadian surveillance laws are not about safety but rather control.

Udom (profile) says:


Canada has just spent 1 billion dollars on a new facility for our spies, while announcing that there will be no more home delivery of mail. Harper and his party owe half their allegiance to the US and the other half to lobbyist companies representing the energy and copyright industries. The Conservatives know they’re going to lose the coming election and are very busy selling us out before their chance to profit is gone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Surveillance

Yeah, fuck these community boxes life if I lived in the country. My city doesn’t even know where these boxes will be, where the one in my area will be, zero communication.

I did get a survey and letters saying regular mailmen will continue working for the disabled and the elderly if their doctor fills a form.

They say it loses money, the mail service isn’t supposed to make money, it’s a basic service, if it ends up making money well that’s good. At least packages that need signatures will be delivered at home still. I hope the community mailbox will not be too far from home, if it is it’s gonna be a dumbass reason to use the car, considering my luck i’m gonna be at the complete opposite end of our “area” which I don’t know how they’ll seperate. Some towns in my province are already working this way, but I don’t know anybody over these places to ask.

But if I end up getting the community mailbox put right in my front lawn (which I would have NO say about), imagine all the garbage that will fill the my front lawn from people throwing away spam mail on the ground.

I don’t know about the progress in other provinces, and he’s mostly getting kicked out in October, at best, he will still cling to a minority. Many of his ideological and not logical laws will be repealed/changed. I mean that community mailbox BS is supposed to start in my whole province on sept 3. There hasn’t been any that have been installed yet, even if they would no be used yet. I got a feeling the NDP and Liberals which are against this shit will likely freeze the program to where it is. Some unfortunate people living in the city will need to fight the extreme winters just to get their mail, thinking of the people who have no car right now…

1 billion on that spy center? That’s something, and it won’t generate revenue either, it will make us lose as much or more money than an essential service. If the mailbox is at walking distance I’ll graffiti over it HELLO CSEC, testing their satellite imagery of every square inch of Canada they will have in real time or something. I dare them to come harass me. I possess no weapons, but I know many law codes by heart, especially since mine (QC) province has its own code based on french law, not english common law. Obviously, it’s a lot more useful.

HegemonicDistortion says:

Possible benefits, ultimately

It may be that having additional states like France and Canada build out NSA-level capabilities and enact US-comparable surveillance state power/authority could potentially be beneficial, generating pressure both within each nation (from their citizenry) and among nations (because, in addition to the US, now France and Canada can also thoroughly spy on other nations’ citizens) for total encryption of the Internet.

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