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French-American Lawyers to Refer to French Surveillance Watchdog against International Surveillance

September 2015 by La Quadrature du Net

After yesterday’s announcement by the French government that the bill on International Surveillance [1] will be discussed on a fast track procedure, the bill was adopted this morning at the Defence Committee by the French Lower Chamber in only twenty minutes and without almost any debate. An association of French-American lawyers and attorneys has just legally challenged [2] the National Commission of Control of Security Interceptions (CNCIS, French Surveillance Watchdog) regarding the secret implementing decree of 2008 [3]. Could it be that the French government is worried about opening up its surveillance practices?

This morning, Member of Parliament Damien Meslot (LR, Right wing) stated that the above mentioned bill is only meant to correct a small mistake on the form [4]. However, the bill’s Rapporteur and President of the Defence Committee, Patricia Adam (SRC, Left wing) has confirmed [5] that the secret decree does indeed exist.

On 31 August, FFDN, FDN and La Quadrature du Net [3] initiated legal procedures against this decree. While the request for a suspensive judgement was refused by the French Council of State, their request for a judgement on the merits (concerning the legal content) is still ongoing. Today, on 16 September, Pierre Ciric, vice-president of the French American Bar Association (FABA) has filed a complaint (pdf) [2] to the CNCIS for violation of professional and communication secrecy. This legal action follows up on a number of warnings (fr) [6] issued by FABA during the past weeks against the Surveillance Bill and on French activities regarding international surveillance.

La Quadrature du Net supports this initiative and hopes for follow ups on this issue, considering it goes against the principle of the universality of rights, and that it infringes personal privacy and the protection of people under professional secrecy, due to surveillance measures taken by the French Government. The bill on International Surveillance, if it comes to pass, would not make this violation on fundamental rights any less severe.

Read the French American Bar Association referral (fr)[2] here.

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