France: FFDN and LQDN Bring Legal Challenge Against Administrative Website Blocking

Paris, 2 April 2015 — After the challenge introduced against surveillance and massive data retention in February, FFDN (a federation of community-driven non-profit ISPs) and La Quadrature du Net go back to court against the decree establishing the administrative website blocking.

This LOPPSI law (which contained a provision on the blocking of websites in the name of fighting child abuse) and the Terrorism Law of November 2014 (which extended the provision to websites that include content "inciting to terrorism"). By allowing the censorship of entire websites with no judicial oversight, it creates important risks for freedom of expression. The legal challenge introduced this week before the French French Council of State aims to overturn this decree.

“After the first round of blocking orders a few days ago, the controversy around administrative website blocking starts again, confirming the concerns already voiced by many actors in the course of this debate. Such a system of censorship is bound to lead to blocking perfectly legal content, and creates important risks of arbitrariness since it is conducted under the sole authority of the government with no judicial oversight. It is completely unacceptable in a self-respecting democracy. In this regard, it is not surprising to see that the OSCE is now criticizing France for threatening free expression. To safeguard the rule of law and abide by international human rights standards, we hope that the Council of State will repeal the decree. If needed, we are ready to go to the European Court of Human Rights” said Félix Tréguer, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

The text of our appeal will be published in the coming days.

Conseil d'État - Marie-Lan Nguyen - Domaine  Public - Wikimedia Commons
Conseil d'État - Marie-Lan Nguyen - Domaine Public - Wikimedia Commons