Police In France Set To Be Allowed To Spy On Suspects Through Their Mobile Devices

Image of an individual monitoring a laptop.

Image of an individual monitoring a laptop. Credit: Frame Stock Footage/Shutterstock.com

A measure discussed by lawmakers in France last Wednesday, July 5, could allow the police to remotely activate mobile phone cameras, microphones and GPS of potential suspects to spy on them.

After it was voted through, Éric Dupond-Moretti, the French Justice Minister, insisted that the implementation of such a move would only affect ‘dozens of cases a year’.

This latest attempt to reform the justice bill in France was met with disdain by members of both the right and left in the Assemblée Nationale. They described the action as an ‘authoritarian snoopers’ charter’.

Geolocation services would be used to locate and spy on suspects

If approved, suspects could face up to five years in prison if caught by this measure. It would involve the use the geolocation services built into devices connected to the internet, such as mobile phones, laptops, and even vehicle GPS systems.

Suspects believed to be actively involved in terror activities, organised crime, or delinquents, could see their devices activated remotely. This would subsequently allow the security services to record images and audio of the users.

In a statement last May, La Quadrature du Net, the digital rights group, claimed that these provisions: ‘raise serious concerns over infringements of fundamental liberties’.

The group also highlighted an individual’s: ‘right to security, right to a private life, and to private correspondence’, as well as: ‘the right to come and go freely’. It described the move as being part of a ‘slide into heavy-handed security’.

MPs inserted an amendment to the proposal

An amendment to the proposal was inserted by MPs in President Emmanuel Macron‘s camp during the debate last Wednesday.

It proposed limiting such use of remote spying to: ‘when justified by the nature and seriousness of the crime’, to only be carried out: ‘for a strictly proportional duration’, which would be limited to six months.

A judge would first be required to approve any use of the provision before it could be implemented under any circumstances. The use of this measure against the likes of MPs, judges, lawyers, journalists, doctors, or other ‘sensitive’ professions would not be classed as legitimate targets.

Dupond-Moretti attempted to defend the move by insisting: ‘We’re far away from the totalitarianism of 1984. People’s lives will be saved’. George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ was of course all about a society that was under the total control of surveillance by its government, as reported by insiderpaper.com.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com