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France "on the brink" as ruling due on controversial surveillance law

France’s Constitutional Council is to rule this week on a draft Intelligence bill that would grant the authorities expansive surveillance powers.

The law would give the prime minister the power to allow authorities to hack into computers or mobile devices, track peoples’ locations and spy on emails, without judicial approval.

Although it has been approved by both houses of parliament, there has been fierce opposition to the proposals from rights groups, judges, tech companies, trade unions, lawyers and parliamentarians, as well as international human rights bodies.

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

“France is on the brink of becoming a country where anyone’s communications could be spied on, anytime, anyplace, and without even the need for a judge’s approval.

“This law would be a major blow for human rights in France, at a time when it is becoming very clear to people around the world that mass surveillance must be stopped.

“This law was supposed to fence in surveillance with clear checks and balances, instead it would give the authorities free rein to do away with people’s privacy.”

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