France Already Expanded Surveillance Twice In The Past Year — Perhaps Expanding It Again Is Not The Answer?
from the maybe-it's-time-to-think-a-little-differently? dept
I’ve been having this discussion on Twitter and a few other places over the past few days, so it seemed only right to put it into a blog post. For all the ridiculous talk with politicians grandstanding and using the attacks in Paris last week as an excuse to expand surveillance powers, it seems worth noting that France actually expanded its surveillance state powers twice in the last year — and the first time it didn’t stop the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and the second time obviously failed to stop the attacks last week. Already, before all of this, French intelligence had powers that were so similar to the NSA’s that it was obvious that there had been some coordination. Then, late last year (actually on Christmas Eve), France quietly enacted a new surveillance law relating to data retention and requiring internet companies to cough up info on users.
That went into effect just shortly before the Charlie Hebdo attacks. And, of course, with that new law failing to prevent those attacks, the French government did the kneejerk thing and expanded its surveillance powers even more, claiming it needed to do so to protect against the next attack. That law, which allowed authorities to monitor communications of suspected terrorrists without a judge’s approval, went into effect in July, with supporters, including Prime Minister Manuel Valls declaring: “France now has a secure framework against terrorism.” Yeah, how did that work out?
Maybe, instead of calling for greater and greater surveillance, we should take a step back and think if there isn’t a better approach that doesn’t involve continually tossing civil liberties in the trash, for no clear benefit.