France seeks power to surveil domestic phone, internet data sans judicial oversight

“France wants telecom and tech firms to inform on potential terrorists,” Sam Schechner reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“A new surveillance bill to be unveiled on Thursday would give the French government power to force communications companies to sift through mountains of phone and Internet metadata using automated tools to flag potential terrorist behavior to police, government officials say, raising concern among technology firms and civil liberties groups,” Schechner reports. “It would authorize French intelligence services to use an array of high-tech tools in their search for terrorists and criminals without judicial oversight, including location trackers for cars and devices that can determine the identity of nearby mobile phones, the officials said.

Schechner reports, “If approved, the law could also force communications firms—potentially including U.S. technology companies—to give intelligence services real-time access to connection data of people suspected of involvement with terrorist groups.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, lookie here, it’s France’s version of “The Patriot Act,” a wild overreaction to terrorism that hands a major freedom-sapping victory to the terrorists. Magnifiques, abrutis!

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, 1759

As far as Apple goes, it’s out of their hands:

Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.Apple Inc.

I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.Apple CEO Tim Cook, September 18, 2014

Related articles:
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014

18 Comments

    1. The French want to avoid more terror attacks, that’s understandable, just like with the U.S. But even if this works to reduce attacks, is it worth the risk that governments will start to get other ideas, with this data they are collecting? And spy on the political opposition? there has got to be some way where we aren’t forced to treat safety and liberty as tradeoffs.

  1. Hey France, there is a terrorist network around the world that involves the captivity and torture of people without any trials or anything? What are you going to do about it?

    The crickets are chirping.

    1. Road Warrior: You might want to rethink your logic a bit.

      The terrorists that attacked Charlie Hebdo no longer exist, they were professionally and efficiently eliminated within hours.

      The French authorities are very capable of reacting when a threat is known. What they DO NOT do, as have vocally stated for decades, is that they don’t endorse an offensive antiterrorist strategy.

      As implemented by Britain, the USA, and Russia in their own ways, the offensive strategy (also commonly called the Bush Doctrine) claims that when enough data is gathered to support the needs of a single executive of a single nation, then that nation has the authority to singlehandedly strike first to neutralize that threat. My father called it the “Ready Fire Aim” strategy.

      The problems with that doctrine are too numerous to list, too expensive to budget, and too arrogant for it to even be considered a good example of statesmanship or democracy.

      France learned many difficult lessons from its many failed colonies and brutal backfiring policies from past centuries. America hasn’t, and it shows.

      One more thought: France has more nuclear materials to protect than most nations since a large percentage of its electrical energy is nuclear. The last thing it needs is to stir up the hornet’s nest of middle eastern jihadists the way crusading nations like Russia, Britain, the USA, Israel, and others are prone to do, declaring their offensive wars to be just and defensive when in fact they are being conducted on foreign soil. Defense cannot be conducted on foreign soil.

      1. Mike that is one excellent post, thanks for making that. I am going to modify my logic.

        Hey France, there is a terrorist network around the world that involves the captivity and torture of people without any trials or anything? What are you going to do about it?

        Emulate them and their techniques (your “Ready Fire Aim” technique) or let the crickets peacefully chirp away?

        The crickets are chirping…. peacefully.

        A very insightful post Mike, thanks for making it.

  2. Serves France, and by extension Europe, right for allowing the place to be littered with Arabs foaming at the mouth over “Islam.”

    Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. – Galatians 6:7

    1. Please…one fantasy against another. Many of these fantasies have resulted in the exact opposite of what they profess to believe/promote. Inquisitions, war, intolerance, prejudice, privilege and power over the masses. We would be far better off without it.

      1. The real fantasy is that multiculturalism works. It doesn’t.

        France, and indeed much Europe, are losing their countries’ unique identity. When tourism dries up because Paris, London, Brussels, etc. all look and smell like Islamabad, do not wonder why.

      2. Very little of what you listed is limited to religious people or religion.

        Atheists can be just as and often are prejudiced.
        Atheists can be just as and often are intolerant.
        Atheists can be just as and have been masters of privilege and power.

        By making grand sweeping, inaccurate statements about another group of people, you are guilty of the same crimes you indict other people for. You completely ignore the good that religious beliefs have brought and focus only on the bad.

        Pathetic, really.

        1. In other words, all humans are capable of poor behavior.

          Nevertheless, Mel is right. Much evidence shows that religion comes right after greed when counting the root causes of hostility and warfare. Religion, as we all know, is the belief without proof that what you do is justified by some authority greater than any human institution, and radicalists of ALL religions reject human-to-human diplomacy as a means of resolving human conflict because they claim their imaginary silent infallible deity will just sort it all out after we’re all dead. That’s lunacy, and all religions have a significant number of lunatics. Take these lunatics out of society and what would be left are reasonable people who believe, correctly, that humans can and need to solve their problems here and now — together.

  3. I’m a believer in our freedoms and spent 28 years of my life protecting them. As usual, the wet behind the ears at MDN oversimplify, trotting out the old Ben Franklin dictum. I don’t trust government to always do the right thing. That said, the new proposal targets those persons suspected of involvement in terrorist groups. I’m OK with targeted data mining to kill them before they kill us. Touché!

    1. Sadly those same people start looking at who you are dating, what you say politically and religiously etc. just because they can.

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

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