On Thursday, the Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls revealed debatable new laws that will allow intelligence agencies to gather cellphone and Internet data from alleged jihadists.
The new set of laws will let officials and authorities to spy on the mobile and online communications of the alleged terrorist organizations and anyone who shares connection with them.
The law will eliminate the need to obtain authorization from a judge and the Internet Service Providers/ISPs will be forced to provide require cellular and digital data whenever requested.
These new measures have been severely criticized by civil rights groups but Valls maintains that these are essential and perhaps the need of the day because France has never before faced such an enormous threat.
Valls says: “There cannot be a lawless zone in the digital space, because we often cannot predict the threat, the services must have the power to react quickly.”
Intelligence services will be entitled to place recording devices and spy cameras at private dwellings as well as the institutions can install “keylogger” devices that can memorize every single key stroke that is made on a targeted computer.
These recordings, as per the new laws, can be stored for up to a month by the authorities and the metadata can be kept for about five years.
Valls tried to silence critics by referring to the law as France’s version of the “Patriot Act.” The Patriot Act was introduced by America as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it allowed intelligence agencies widespread powers for spying on its citizens, according to France RFI.
Valls says that the processes will be “precisely defined” and if any sort of data is requested, it will have to be “justified” whereas the decisions of starting surveillance will be taken personally by himself and for a restricted time duration only. Valls further added: “It in no way allows a generalized surveillance of citizens.”
“Everyone can express their concerns, but our responsibility is to fight terrorism in the most effective way possible.”
The country’s head of Human Rights League, Pierre Tartakowsky, stated that “We are putting in place a system that is potentially killing freedom. On the pretext of improving surveillance, we are sacrificing individual liberties.”