French Law Enforcement 'Wishlist' Includes Banning Open WiFi, Tor Connections And Encrypted Communications
from the the-War-on-Citizens dept
More bad news for French citizens. Not only were they recently attacked by terrorists, but now their government is using these attacks against them to strip away civil liberties and shift more power to police and intelligence agencies.
A document viewed by Le Monde contains several very concerning suggestions from government agencies on how to better combat terrorism — starting with blacklisting suspicious people and detaining them with administrative police orders. (via Galou Gentil and Numerama)
That’s only the beginning of the wishlist. The document is not, by any means, a formal presentation of future legislative issues, but rather the equivalent of an open “suggestion” box, which has now been filled with terrible ideas by law enforcement agencies. How seriously French legislators take these suggestions won’t be seen until early next year when the legislature reconvenes.
Other suggestions from “local police and gendarmes”:
- Nonconsensual searches of vehicles and luggage (apparently without proper legal justification)
- “Papers please” identity checks, again with minimal legal justification
- Forcing those on the receiving end of administrative searches to give up DNA samples
From that point, law enforcement starts asking for more ways to control communications.
- Banning open WiFi connections during a state of emergency.
It’s unclear whether they’re looking for a preemptive ban or simply a kill switch. Either way, the state of emergency in France has been extended, and may never truly go away. If so, the ban/kill would be as permanent as the state of emergency itself. Open or shared connections would be subject to criminal sanctions.
- Blocking TOR connections in France
- Identifying communication sources (including VOIP) in France and forcing purveyors to hand over encryption keys
Back in the physical realm, police also want the power to shut down roads to search for vehicles — again with little to no legal justification. They also want a centralized database containing information on anyone renting hotel rooms or vehicles.
As Le Monde notes, some of the requests fall outside of the realm of possibility and several fall outside the constraints of France’s constitution. But the latter is definitely malleable. The government can’t do anything about the impossible but it can use the current state of emergency to carve more holes in the rights of its citizens.
How seriously these requests will be taken remains to be seen. The post-terrorist attack spitballing by law enforcement agencies almost reaches the point of self-parody. Le Monde snarkily notes that it’s not sure if this wishlist was meant for legislators or for “Santa.” But it also notes that the expanded-government-power Santa may actually be presiding over this wishlist, unfortunately.
Santa has a new name: State of Emergency.
Whether or not any of this makes its way into actual law, it still clearly documents the law enforcement mindset — one that never stops looking for ways to expand its own power at the expense of the citizens it’s supposed to serve.