The French people are currently angry about a recent law passed in France. As part of the justice reform bill, French lawmakers have authorized the France Police to monitor individuals suspected of committing crimes. This includes the monitoring of any device belonging to the suspect, such as cameras, watches, phones, and laptops.
The new law has faced criticism from many who believe it is a cover for government surveillance through technology. Critics have expressed their disappointment with the French government for allowing such a law to be implemented in the country.
Many French media have reported reports of cries of authoritarianism and unjustifiable government oversight. But it seems the French government is not bothered. In fact, French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti claimed that the new bill will only affect "dozens of cases a year."
People’s Lives Will Be Saved — French Justice Minister Says
French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti has made a huge claim regarding the new law after saying that the French people should not overwork themselves about the new law. He noted that appropriate measures have been implemented to ensure the France police or any other authorized authority does not misuse the regulation.
It's important to note that not all individuals accused of a crime will be impacted by this new law. Specifically, only those facing a potential sentence of 10 years or more will be subject to the regulation.
The monitoring devices mentioned in the law include laptops, vehicles, smartphones, and other connected devices. These tools will capture both audio and visual evidence of individuals suspected of criminal activity.
However, there is a condition to be met. As previously mentioned, certain precautions will be taken to ensure that the relevant authorities do not break the law. Prior to the French police commencing surveillance on any individual, they must obtain authorization from a judge. This authorization is valid for a maximum of six months before it expires.
Furthermore, certain working-class groups will be exempt from this regulation. The new legislation will not have an impact on French lawmakers, journalists, medical professionals, legal practitioners, and judges.
While responding to critics' concerns, French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said, "We’re far away from the totalitarianism of 1984….. People’s lives will be saved."
Critics Hit Back at French Lawmakers Over New Law
French anti-censorship and surveillance group La Quadrature du Net (LQDN) argued at the beginning of the year that the new regulation had some breaches of human rights. This is not the first time critics will be hitting on the government after passing a regulatory law.
Shortly after the terrorist attack on Paris in 2015, the government passed a similar regulation.
"The surveillance measures authorized by this law are wildly out of proportion. Large swathes of France’s population could soon find themselves under surveillance on obscure grounds and without prior judicial approval," Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy, said in 2015.