French Government Not Happy With Recent NSA Revelations; Vows To Do More Spying On Its Own Citizens

from the if-you-want-it-done-right,-you-have-to-do-it-yourself dept

As the French government feigned shock and indignation at revelations that a spy agency would spy on world leaders, it went ahead and continued pushing its new surveillance bill through the legislature.

Yet also today, the lower house of France’s legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country’s intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country’s closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France’s spies.
This is the hypocrisy inherent to all countries housing intelligence agencies (which is, pretty much, ALL countries). Government leaders express indignation that their spy partners would use their powers to spy on them, while the agencies under their purview do exactly the same thing. On top of that, concern is rarely expressed about their own citizens, whose data and communications are being swept up not only by foreign intelligence agencies but also by domestic surveillance programs.

That's the thing that will happen. France will widen its (already-expanded) surveillance net because a) government and b) the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Never let an attack on free speech prevent you from introducing your own chilling effect. And never let a tragedy go to waste. These are hallmark government moves, easily understandable when you realize most governments prize power expansions above all else.

This is the thing that won't happen:
France should respond to the U.S.’s “contempt” for its allies by giving Edward Snowden asylum, the leftist French daily newspaper Libération declared on Thursday.

France would send “a clear and useful message to Washington, by granting this bold whistleblower the asylum to which he is entitled,” editor Laurent Joffrin wrote (translated from the French) in an angry editorial titled “Un seul geste” — or “A single gesture.”
While Snowden has applied to several countries for asylum (presumably France is one of them), it's doubtful the French government will follow through with a suggestion from an "angry, leftist" newspaper. As much as it claims to be righteously angered by the latest revelations, it is likely in no hurry to strain its "Five Eyes" relationship with a powerful ally. (It will, however, continue to antagonize American tech companies with protectionist trade laws and batshit-crazy court decisions…) If the French government actually issues an asylum invitation to Snowden, I'll order a proper chapeau from some non-Amazonian online retailer and eat it.

Filed Under: france, surveillance


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2015 @ 8:25am

    Re: Five Eyes

    Including Canada in Five Eyes is like a gang of thugs hanging out with a nerdy guy to improve their image.

    The thought "Canada needs to participate in illegal mass surveillance of civilian populations in order to protect global Canadian hegemony." just sounds...wrong.

    I thought you were cool, Canada.

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