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 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Is France a member of NATO? I know DeGaulle was adamant about keeping France out of it.

    France is one of the original signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty.

    DeGaulle's withdrawal from the NATO command structure was not a denunciation of the treaty.
    Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France's Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[33] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO's integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France.

     . . .

    French status
    This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2015)
    From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO, i.e. outside the integrated military command, a policy dubbed "Gaullo-Mitterrandism". After François Mitterrand left office in 1995, new President Jacques Chirac began a decade and a half of rapprochement with NATO by joining the Military Committee and attempting to negiotiate a return to the integrated military command, which failed after the French demand for parity with the United States went unmet. The possibility of a further attempt foundered after Chirac was forced by an election into cohabitation with a Socialist-led cabinet between 1997-2002, then poor Franco-American relations after the French UN veto threat over Iraq in 2003 made transatlantic negotiations impossible. His successor Nicolas Sarkozy, with more modest demands, negiotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the later being disbanded the following year. Despite the rapprochement of recent decades, France intends to remain the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and, unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.

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