French Intelligence: the mad race to international mass surveillance

Paris, 30th September 2015 — The review of the bill related to international electronic communications surveillance measures will insidiously start on the 1st October 2015. It can already expect a bright future, made of flash reviews and hurried debates. After the censorship by the French Constitutional Council, which cut off its general approach on international intelligence, this text claims to fill the void and provide "key progress": the regulation of foreign intelligence activities.

Joint communiqué from the Observatoire des Libertés et du Numérique (Freedoms and Digital Observatory)1

Civil rights groups condemn draft mass surveillance bill to be adopted in France

Open letter sent by civil rights groups worldwide against the Surveillance Bill to be adopted in France.

Safe Harbor Suspension by EU Court of Justice Is an Essential First Step

Paris, 24 September 2015 — The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) published on 23rd September his conclusions in the case "Maximilian Schrems against Data Protection Commissioner". The Advocate General, Yves Bot, recommends an invalidation of the Safe Harbor agreement which regulates the transfer of personal data of European citizens by online services like Facebook, to the United States. The Advocate General considers that the surveillance carried out by US intelligence services hinders fundamental rights of European citizens. La Quadrature du Net welcomes these clear and protective conclusions, and hopes that the EU Court of Justice will have the courage to follow him in challenging Safe Harbor as demanded by civil society since the first Snowden revelations. Additionally, putting Safe Harbour aside, his analysis of the NSA's practices should also apply to mass surveillance by European governments, such as France.

French-American Lawyer to Refer to French Surveillance Watchdog against International Surveillance

Paris, 16 September 2015 — After yesterday's announcement by the French government that the bill on International Surveillance will be discussed on a fast track procedure, the bill was adopted this morning at the Defence Committee by the French Lower Chamber in only twenty minutes and without almost any debate. A French and American lawyer has just legally challenged the National Commission of Control of Security Interceptions (CNCIS, French Surveillance Watchdog) regarding the secret implementing decree of 2008. Could it be that the French government is worried about opening up its surveillance practices?

Data Protection: Unambiguous is Ambiguous

Paris, 16th September 2015 — The main pending issues for the European Data Protection Regulation will be discussed on 16th and 17th September during the coming trialogue meeting. The latest proposals from the Council visibly aim at limiting the guarantees provided to the users in favor of private lobbies.

International Surveillance: A New French Bill to Collect Data Worldwide!

Paris, 15th September 2015 — After the French Constitutional Council censored measures on international surveillance in the Surveillance Law voted last June, the government fires back with a bill that will be discussed at the end of September in the National Assembly. La Quadrature du Net strongly rejects the unacceptable clauses which would launch an “intelligence war” against our European and international partners.

Three French NGOs Challenge French International Surveillance

Paris, 3rd September 2015 — Today, the non-profit ISPs FDN and the FDN Federation as well as La Quadrature du Net announced the introduction of two legal challenges before the French Council of State against the Internet surveillance activities of French foreign intelligence services (DGSE). As the French government plans the introduction of a new bill on international surveillance, these challenges underline the need for a thorough oversight of surveillance measures.

Surveillance of all citizens: French government has now carte blanche

Paris, 30 July 2015 – On 23th July, the French Constitutional Council adopted a historical decision, standing out by its disregard for individual freedoms, right to privacy and freedom of speech. The "elders" have decided to avoid a real analysis of the proportionality of the new surveillance laws, and have shown their will to not stand in the way of the political game, becoming a mere rubber-stamping chamber.

Shame on France: French Constitutional Council Widely Approves Surveillance Law!

Update (24 July 2015): The French Constitutional Council shows again its disregard for fundamental rights. This morning, after approving almost all dispositions in the Surveillance law, the Constitutional Council builds momentum by rejecting the Question Prioritaire de Constitutionalité1 handed by La Quadrature du Net, FDN and FDN Federation on the 2014-2019 Defence Law as a whole.

The Constitutional Council considered that "the legislator has sufficiently defined connection data, which cannot be related to the content of the communication or to the consulted information". As such, the notion of "information and documents" found in the Surveillance law, as well as in the 2014-2019 Defence Law, stays blurry.

Moreover, the Constitutional Council, which yesterday approved very weak dispositions concerning the protection of professional secrets for lawyers and confidentiality of sources, confirmed this morning that confidentiality of correspondence is only related to the content of said communications, hence sweeping away the notion of secret of sources for journalists.


Paris, 23 July 2015 — By validating almost all surveillance measures provided in the Surveillance Law adopted on 25 June, the French Constitutional Council legalises mass surveillance and endorses a historical decline in fundamental rights. Algorithmic black boxes have been approved. Only international surveillance has been deemed to be non compliant to the Constitution.

  • 1. The QPC is a procedure in French Law system to control the constitutionality of the laws after they are promulgated.

Surveillance: We Must Support Netzpolitik Against the German Government Pressure!

Paris, 15 July 2015 — La Quadrature du Net strongly condemns the attempts to intimidate the German website Netzpolitik, accused of treason by the German court for publishing documents revealing the extension of Internet surveillance by the German secret services. La Quadrature du Net supports the German activists being pressured by the authorities for defending fundamental freedoms.

French Surveillance Bill: LQDN Files an Amicus Brief to the Constitutional Court

Paris, 25 June, 2015 — This morning, La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and the FDN Federation filed an amicus brief to the French Constitutional Court against the Surveillance Act that was just adopted yesterday by the Parliament. The three organizations, who have opposed the French Surveillance Bill since its adoption by the government on March 19th, will now continue their fight against this dangerous law in court.

France in the Era of Mass Surveillance! We must resist!

Paris, 24 June 2015 — It's a sad day for freedom! French representatives just adopted the French Surveillance Law. As an ironic echo to the recent WikiLeaks revelations about NSA spying on French political authorities, this vote calls for a new type of resistance for citizens.

Newsletter #65

Salut à toutes et à tous !

Voici la newsletter 65 de La Quadrature du Net !


L'activité de La Quadrature du Net


Envoyé fin février 2015, le recours contre le décret d'application de la Loi de programmation militaire présenté conjointement par la Fédération FDN, French Data Network et La Quadrature du Net a été transféré par le Conseil d'État au Conseil Constitutionnel. Cela signifie que le Conseil d'État a considéré que notre questionnement était nouveau et présentait un caractère sérieux. Il faut maintenant attendre la décision du Conseil Constitutionnel.

En résumé, le recours se base sur une la possibilité de la police d'avoir accès aux « données de connexion » dans le chapitre « informations et documents ». La question est de savoir si « informations et documents » recouvre un champ plus large que « données de connexion ». En séance au Sénat sur le projet de loi sur le renseignement, Jean-Yves Le Drian a refusé un amendement remplaçant « informations et documents » par « données de connexion » en étant assez flou sur la définition des deux et en considérant qu'il n'y avait pas lieu de se poser la question. Pourtant le Conseil d'État estime qu'il y a un doute. Le problème est donc de savoir où se trouve la limite entre « données de connexion » et « informations et documents » et ce que recouvrent chacun des termes.

Cela entre aussi en compte dans le cadre de la protection des activités des journalistes (protection des sources) et des avocats (protection des clients), puisque l'accès aux données de connexion ne permet pas d'identifier une profession protégée sans lever son anonymat.


Le projet de loi relatif au renseignement a été adopté par les deux chambres du Parlement et sera définitivement adopté par l'Assemblée nationale le 24 juin prochain (la date du Sénat n'a pas encore été communiquée).

Malgré une opposition proportionnellement un peu plus marquée qu'à l'Assemblée nationale, le vote des sénateurs a rejoint celui des députés le 5 mai dernier pour adopter un texte dénoncé comme dangereux par une part importante des défenseurs des libertés, des syndicats, des magistrats et avocats, des journalistes et malgré une opposition argumentée et transpartisane au sein même du Parlement.

La commission mixte paritaire qui réunira, d'ici quelques jours, un groupe de députés et de sénateurs pour harmoniser le texte en vue de son adoption définitive ne pourra donc que valider une loi qui :

  • étend largement le champ d'action du renseignement ;
  • légalise massivement les pratiques illégales des services ;
  • instaure des techniques de surveillance de masse ;
  • crée une commission de contrôle des interceptions sans réel pouvoir.


Les institutions législatives européennes ne sont toujours pas arrivées à un accord concernant la neutralité du Net. En effet, le dernier trilogue (procédure législative rassemblant le Parlement européen, le Conseil de l'Union Européenne ainsi que la Commission européenne) du 2 juin, n'a pas permis aux différentes parties de trouver une entente.

Dans sa version du texte, le Conseil a tout simplement effacé la définition de la neutralité du Net qui a été adoptée au Parlement européen. Le combat pour un Internet libre et ouvert n'est donc pas terminé. Le Conseil et la Commission essaient d'obtenir du Parlement européen qu'il abandonne la définition de neutralité du Net et les socialistes sont actuellement assez divisés sur ce point.


La Quadrature du Net accueille deux nouvelles personnes dans son équipe. Lucie Havard, qui assistera Agnès dans l'analyse juridique, ainsi que Sephora Bellune qui s'occupera de l'administration de l'association. Bienvenue à elles !

Promote Strong Encryption and Anonymity in the Digital Age

Paris, 18 June 2015 — The undersigned civil society organizations (including La Quadrature du Net) and independent experts work to promote human rights and press freedom online. We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression on the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communication (A/HRC/29/32), which was presented at the UN Human Rights Council on June 17.

French Surveillance Bill: Public Liberties Abandoned as Senators Cast Disastrous Vote

Paris, 9 June 2015 – The Surveillance Bill was adopted today by the French Senate with 251 votes for, 68 against and 26 abstentions. This bill was fast tracked and discussed under the pressure of a government wielding the argument of an extreme terrorist risk to impose massive spying of the French population with expansive purposes. It will put France under a surveillance all at once diffuse, intrusive, indiscriminate and without effective control. La Quadrature du Net bitterly regrets the blindness of the French Parliamentarians and calls on citizens not to give up on their liberties.

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