France allows surveillance of its citizens via smartphone, GPS and microphones

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Icon image generated with Adobe Firefly.

French lawmakers have given the country’s police force new legal powers as part of a sweeping judicial reform.

Suspects can therefore be monitored by remotely activating cameras, microphones and GPS location functions on smartphones and other connected devices.

In an initial reaction, Amnesty International describes the decision as a “hard blow to human rights”.

The justification for surveillance is unclear

The new law applies to smartphones, vehicles, laptops and all other devices that have a connection to the Internet. The police are allowed to remotely control these devices and activate cameras and microphones.

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If a person has taped their cameras, the police officers are also allowed to use them GPS to monitor.

However, the conditions for justifying the surveillance of a person are not formulated in a completely clear and precise way. So they are as follows:

  • She must be considered a suspect
  • The alleged crime must be punishable with 5 years imprisonment

Also persons who are suspected planning acts of terrorism or to criminal organizations to belong are approved for all-around surveillance.

At the same time, the French government reserves the right to place surveillance on anyone should the seriousness of the crime justify it.

Such surveillance is permitted by law maximum 6 months last for.

There are big concerns

Both data protectionists and human rights organizations are alarmed. It would allow the government to surveil people unnoticed and justify it with vaguely formulated goals such as “to ensure national security” or “to fight organized crime.”

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In addition, certain individuals are excluded from surveillance, including doctors, journalists, lawyers, judges and French legislators.

Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Director of Amnesty International Europe and Asia, thinks the new surveillance law is excessive and sees it as a Danger to the privacy of French citizens.

A form of surveillance with completely different goals was recently discussed in Great Britain. You can find out more about this in this article:

Despite unrest in civil rights groups, the French National Assembly passed its new judicial reform law, including the surveillance measures mentioned, with a clear majority of 80 to 24 votes.

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