Saturday, January 17, 2015

France to Boost Online Surveillance Powers ... Will Others Follow?

Government to Demand More Help From Tech Firms in Spotting Terrorist Communication Online
France is seeking greater assistance from technology firms as part of a plan to beef up domestic surveillance and add to its already heavy legal arsenal to track terror threats in the wake of last week’s deadly attacks.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls speaks Tuesday during a 
special session of the National Assembly to pay tribute to the 
17 victims killed in Islamist attacks last week and demand 
greater surveillance powers. 
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday said France would soon propose a new surveillance law aimed at giving intelligence services “all the legal means to accomplish their mission.” Mr. Valls said the country would also reinforce domestic intelligence services, boosting staff levels to track a growing number of potential terrorists.
“We have to focus on the Internet and social networks, which are more than ever used to recruit, organize and disseminate technical knowhow to commit terrorist acts,” Mr. Valls said in an address to parliament that was met at times with standing ovations. “We must go further.”
People attend a national tribute for the three officers killed 
during last week's terrorist attacks. The ceremony took 
place in front of the Paris Prefecture on Tuesday. 
Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
France’s moves to tighten surveillance since the Paris attacks add to pressure on U.S. tech firms in Europe to do more to help authorities combat terrorism. Particularly in the U.K. and France, security and intelligence officials have expressed frustration at what they say is some firms’ reluctance to comply with orders requesting information about users and their communications.
In recent months, European Union officials and national governments have met with companies including Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to discuss the topic. A meeting Sunday of 11 EU interior ministers in Paris called on major Internet providers to swiftly report and remove material that could “incite hatred and terror.”
Technology companies, keen to assure users that they safeguard their privacy, have pushed back on some requests to turn over user data. They also cite conflicts with U.S. laws that they say prohibit them from sharing data.
“This has been a point of tension with EU governments,” one U.S. tech executive said.
On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said if his Conservative Party wins the British general election in May, he would renew efforts to introduce controversial legislation giving the government surveillance powers to monitor the content of online communications.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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