Last Friday, France’s parliament overwhelmingly passed a three-month extension of , granting broad powers to law enforcement and significantly curtailing civil liberties. the national state of emergency
The Guardian summarizes some of the new security measures:
- Expanded powers to immediately place under house arrest any person if there are “serious reasons to think their behaviour is a threat to security or public order”.
- More scope to dissolve groups or associations that participate in, facilitate or incite acts that are a threat to public order. Members of these groups can be placed under house arrest.
- Extended ability to carry out searches without warrants and to copy data from any system found. MPs, lawyers, magistrates and journalists will be exempt.
- Increased capacity to block websites that “encourage” terrorism.
The move was approved by a vote of 551-6 with 6 abstentions, and a recent poll indicates “84 percent of the French people (are) willing to give up some freedoms to guarantee their security.”
These measures expand upon the authorities granted to the government by what’s been called the “French Patriot Act,” passed in the wake of the massacre at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last January. Former Reasoner J.D. Tuccille described that law as allowing for “surveillance creep beyond specific targets, to acquaintances who may have nothing to do with any alleged transgressions, terroristic, economic, or otherwise.”