France is about to become the epicenter of the debate between privacy and security thanks to a new terrorism bill scheduled to be introduced today.
The proposal, if it becomes law, would require technology and telecommunications companies to utilize a host of tools to automatically monitor activity and data of their users, and then share that information in real time with security officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While the law would hit French companies first, government officials have also been vocal in saying it would apply to U.S. tech companies.
The law has been in the works for some time now. But the French government sped up the timetable for introducing it following the terrorist attacks in Paris that targeted employees of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper as well as customers at a kosher grocery story.
Even as the French government prepares to introduce the law today, privacy groups warned that the proposal represents a dangerous overreaching by the government into citizens’ private lives. La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based privacy advocacy group, wrote in a blog post this week that while the country may need to update outdated terrorism laws, the proposal as written represents a dangerous “drift” that could undermine the freedom of individuals.
“While studies show that everywhere in the world mass surveillance does not lower the risk of violent crimes, the path taken by the French government is bound to establish a new era of general suspicion, marking historical drawback for the separation of powers and for fundamental rights,” read the post.
The organization said it hopes members of France’s parliament will push back against the bill as they debate it in the coming weeks.