In a post on its blog, Mozilla has expressed its deep concern over the French National Assembly’s Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement, a new law which legitimises mass surveillance though the installation of “black boxes” among telecommunications operators devices. Mozilla, developer of the Firefox internet browser, says that “the bill threatens the integrity of Internet infrastructure, user privacy, and data security.”
According to the blog post, the surveillance bill authorises French intelligence services to:
- Pervasively monitor and store user communications, metadata, and Web activity about all users in France and abroad;
- Force Internet service providers (and potentially other technology companies) to install “black boxes” in their networks to collect massive amounts of data and use algorithms to search for “suspicious patterns”;
- Intercept user communications, including reading emails and tapping phones, without meaningful due process or oversight; and
- compromise Internet infrastructure in France and extraterritorially.
The bill came as a surprise to many, since France was one of the founding members of was a founding member of the Freedom Online Coalition, which was designed to stand against infringement on internet users’ rights, something that this surveillance bill spits upon.
Mozilla ends its blog post by saying, “we call on France, as an international leader in upholding human rights around the world, to set a positive example for other governments rather than continuing on a course of eroding protections for users and undermining the open Internet.”
Image courtesy of FreeVector.