An update about the bill on intelligence

The draft law on intelligence, which I have mentioned here and there, was approved with a large majority by the French National Assembly and the French Senate. This is despite the inria has produced a very critical note towards it, adding to the long list of reasoned criticisms of this law that I have already mentioned elsewhere. Now, the French Constitutional Council must assess the law. As far as I am concern, I hope that the question of balance between surveillance and democratic control will arise.

For my part, I have questioned on the subject the member of French parliament representing the area where I am currently residing. Since I did not tell her/him that our discussions would be published, I will neither give her/his name nor the exact content of our exchanges. Not that I think she/he does not claim the remarks she/he held me, but because if I had told her/him that our discussions would be public, she/he could have prejudices and legitimate demands. However, I think some kind of report is welcome, and this is what I'm doing here.

First, I think it should be noted that she/he took care to answer all my requests. She/he even invited me to meet her/him – what would have been a good thing, but I was unfortunately not available. That is certainly what one should expect from an elected official, but I still want to emphasize what seems to me to be going in the right direction.

Concerning my actual questions, however, I am quite reserve. She/he remained very general, arguing that laws concerning monitoring are outdated, so that a change in legislation is necessary. This is quite true, but this is not what is called into question. What I think is a problem, it is the balance between power and counter-power, and the range of government surveillance as well as the means to implement it.

In other words, she/he unfortunately did not respond to questions that I had raised, standing in government official statements. Either I have not been able to express myself clearly, or for some reason she/he has chosen not to really answer it. In such a case, I would not venture to guess the reasons, because that would be nothing less than a trial of intent.

This episode illustrates the difficulty of the debate on this subject, where reserves against the bill were very specific, when the answers that were made to them was some kind of declarations of intent and therefore did not give truly satisfactory element.

There are still some opportunities to make clear that this is not the legitimacy to legislate on the subject that is questioned, but specific aspects of the law and the mean to put it in its work. View from here, better not giving up.

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Yoann Le Bars

A researcher and teacher with slightly too many interests to sum this up …

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