Big Brother: Sarkozy calls for it, his government does it.

internet à la chinoise

"I want to see everything and know everything." - Nicolas Sarkozy, 2006, on video-surveillance

La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) has seen the draft "Trust Online” Charter (FR) that the Ministry of the Interior is asking ISPs to sign by June 10th. The text confirms La Quadrature’s worst fears. Under the pretext of protecting users, the French government is attempting to put in place an all-encompassing Internet monitoring and filtering system. It seeks to avoid the usual processes of law-making, in order to impose disproportionate obligations on the ISPs – obligations which violate fundamental rights and which are contrary to the ethos of the Internet environment.

The proposed measures include arbitary content filtering, data requisition with no court supervision, an extension of the ISPs obligations for data retention, automatic deletion of content, labeling of website content... this is is a level of surveillance which we would expect from an authoritarian regime such as China, but not in France.

"The goal of the French government is not to fight crime using measures that are necessary, appropriate and proportionate. It is about controlling by any and every means, the only free media which don’t conform to the old order. " said Christophe Espern, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, adding "There is something especially despicable about using the fight against child pornography as an alibi to Big Brother. The police units working in this area do not ask for these types of measures. To call it "trust online" in this context, is nothing more than spin from the PR-men."

As La Quadrature du Net, we call on all French citizens to immediately contact their parliamentary representatives, and to ask them to question the government about this issue.

We further invite them to learn about anonymity and encryption techniques and we will soon publish a guide which will help citizens to protect themselves against this kind of arbitary digital surveillance.

We also call on the ISPs to categorically refuse to collaborate with these projects, which are unworthy of a democracy.