French Prime Minister Says Government Not Considering Banning Open WiFi, Tor Connections

from the that-proposed-encryption-ban,-tho dept

The French government has issued a statement indicating it will not be participating in the nation's law enforcement agencies' perversely masturbatorial power fantasies. A few days ago, Le Monde published a few "highlights" from a law enforcement "wishlist," crafted in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Among the many, many things law enforcement jotted down in response to a call for input on future terrorist-related legislation was a ban on public WiFi, Tor connections and encrypted communications. This was in addition to requests for warrantless/consent-less searches of people and vehicles, and the power to arbitrarily set up roadblocks for the purposes of executing even more warrantless/consent-less searches of people and vehicles.

The French Prime Minister has now confirmed that at least one of the items on the disturbing list will not be implemented. (via the Daily Dot)

A ban on Wifi internet access will not be introduced as part of new security measures in response to the Paris attacks in November, the Prime Minister has said.
There also appears to be no government interest in banning Tor connections, although this was stated a little less firmly. And the whole "demand encryption keys from third parties" request goes entirely unaddressed, suggesting the French government still has an eye on inserting itself into encrypted relationships as a "trusted partner."

Interestingly, Prime Minister Manual Valls appears to have not seen the same document Le Monde did.
The prime minister denied any knowledge of such police requests, adding: "Internet is a freedom, is an extraordinary means of communication between people, it is a benefit to the economy."

Mr Valls said he understood the security services' need for tough measures to fight terrorism but stressed that those measures had to be "effective".
This could be taken to mean that the law enforcement wishlist compiled by the police liaison office isn't viewed as an "official" request in any way, shape or form -- that it may as well have been drunken scrawls on the back of a cocktail napkin as far as the Prime Minister is concerned. It could also mean the Prime Minister isn't yet willing to go on record as to the numerous other, unaddressed requests made by law enforcement, most of which deal with the terrestial realm, rather than the more ethereal 'net.

France is still under a state of emergency, which has already given law enforcement increased discretionary powers. The government will likely move forward with harmful legislation because that's what governments tend to do in response to violent attacks. But, for now, it appears law enforcement will have to make do with the arbitrary house arrests and warrantless searches it's already engaging in.

Filed Under: encryption, france, freedom, law enforcement, manual valls, public wifi, surveillance, tor, wifi

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2015 @ 11:56am

    Just like they promised to not abuse their anti terrorism laws to arrest and shut down protests and groups they didn't like that had nothing to do with terrorism.

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